THE team building the iconic new Mersey Gateway bridge has been shortlisted for two prestigious national biodiversity awards.

The Big Biodiversity Challenge 2017 has shortlisted the work of project team Merseylink and the individual efforts of environmental manager Victoria Pollard.

Finalists were chosen from more than 100 entries and winners will be announced in London next month.

Merseylink has been shortlisted for the large scale permanent award while Victoria is up for the Big biodiversity champion accolade.

The awards are organised by CIRIA, the construction industry research and information association, which is a non-profit organisation, that works to improve the construction industry.

Victoria said: “We have worked extremely hard to help revitalise the saltmarsh and estuary as part of the Mersey Gateway project.

“This has involved introducing a small herd of grazing cattle to the saltmarsh to encourage the growth of new grasses and improve species diversity – they’re really thriving, which is great.

“Healthy marshes then attract insects, which in turn attract birds and bats, while flowering saltmarsh plants attract pollinators too.

“Before the cattle were introduced an area of the saltmarsh was cleared of debris and water troughs were installed.

“This is one example of an environmental legacy we will leave in this area that will last long after the bridge has been completed.”

Hugh O’Connor, general manager of Merseylink, said: “This is great news and is real recognition of the efforts we have made to improve the environment around the project site.

“Only a few weeks ago we won a CIEEM national award that recognised excellence in stakeholder management in relation to ecological and environmental management so I’m extremely proud of the team to again be shortlisted for another environmental award.”

Halton Council leader Cllr Rob Polhill said: “This is another great bit of news for the environmental side of this fantastic bridge project.

“The Project has always considered the conservation and protection of our natural environment a priority and with the great work from the Merseylink environmental team and the setting up of the Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust, it is clear the project is not only delivering a fantastic new bridge for Halton, but is also helping regenerate our natural green spaces too.”

To vote for Victoria Pollard and Merseylink visit

Voting closes at noon on Friday, September 8.

The winners will be announced at an award ceremony in London on September 14.

The Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust is an independent charitable trust set up in 2010 to promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the environment across a 1600-hectare area of the Upper Mersey Estuary running all the way from the Mersey Gateway Bridge up river as far as Warrington.

The trust aims to create a new 28.5 hectare nature reserve around the bridge.