Transforming The Trent Valley
The River Trent is the UK’s third longest river. Where it passes through South Derbyshire, the idyllic meandering valley broadens out into a wide rural meadow, characterised by rolling countryside and picturesque villages, with some ongoing extraction of aggregate resources. As extraction concludes, sites become available for new uses.
The Trent Valley is utilised by a number of existing transport corridors, including the A50 and the Trent & Mersey Canal and benefits from excellent connections to nearby cities, including, Derby, Nottingham and Birmingham. It is also well positioned in relation to the motorway network, East Midlands Airport and East Midlands Parkway railway station. Within the southern arm of the Vision area the River Trent passes through the National Forest – Britain’s most ambitious environmental project, where almost 9 million trees have been planted across 200 square miles over the last twenty-five years.
The Trent Valley Vision is a long-term plan to secure the future of the lower Trent landscapes through sustainable restoration and development following the extraction of aggregates and anticipated urban expansion. Recreational and leisure development will include the opportunity to connect into existing navigable waterways (such as the Trent & Mersey Canal) and to provide additional cruising circuits (such as the Derby & Sandiacre Canal) and marina facilities. Mercia Marina at Willington is an example of what can be achieved – once a disused gravel pit, it opened in 2008 as Europe’s largest inland marina and now attracts close to 800,000 visitors a year.
The Trent Valley Way is under development, aiming to create a new long distance footpath retracing the industrial history of the River Trent, from its source in Stoke on Trent to the Humber estuary.
Ultimately, it is estimated that the Vision will deliver around 150,000 new jobs in the tourism, leisure and research & development industries. By 2050, economic benefits are estimated at £2.8 billion, alongside an additional £80 million per year of additional social and environmental benefits.