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News from the UK Civils Industry 11th June 2019

Posted by: Melonie Debenham
Industry News

EA consults on flood risk strategy for Lincolnshire coast 

The Environment Agency (EA) has launched a consultation on a new vision for the future of flood risk management between Saltfleet and Gibraltar Point on the Lincolnshire coast.

Just over 45,000 people live in the Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Strategy area, and each year a further 2.7 million people visit, generating almost £500 million a year for Lincolnshire’s coastal economy. EA’s work to manage flood risk in this area is vital for the continued success of Lincolnshire’s coastal communities, its thriving tourism industry and its strong agricultural sector.

To ensure that this remains the case, EA has reviewed the way it currently manages flood risk in the area and has set out a vision for the way it will do so over the next 100 years.

Lincolnshire’s beaches suffer from sand losses due to natural processes like waves and tides which increases flood risk. To reduce this the Agency has replenished beaches between Saltfleet and Gibraltar Point with sand on an annual basis since 1994. By restoring beach levels lost over the year, the EA protects its hard sea defences from the impact of waves and tides.

EA has said it recognises that this approach may not be sustainable in the future. With the effects of climate change, including sea level rise and increasingly frequent storms, more and more sand is likely to be needed each year to restore beaches to their appropriate sand levels. The overall cost as well as the carbon footprint of the beach nourishment works would increase significantly over time.

The draft strategy is designed to be sustainable and affordable, as well as take into account the effects of a changing climate. It will enable EA to continue to provide and maintain coastal sea defences with healthy beaches for the enjoyment, wellbeing and prosperity of people visiting, working and living in Lincolnshire. Full story.

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Highways England tests cutting edge tech to improve water quality

Highways England is testing a cutting edge bio-technology system to improve water quality around a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Devon.

Water run-off from the A38 and adjacent farmland can carry pollutants such as oil and metal residue, and this has the potential to impact water quality in the Dean Burn and the surrounding area, including Potters Wood SSSI.

The new system features a bio-engineered filtration pond which will substitute a traditional reed bed by using an engineered soil specifically designed to trap dissolved pollutants in the highways water run-off. This should significantly enhance the quality of water running into Dean Burn and improve the local ecosystem.

The system is being trialled for the first time by Highways England and if successful could be rolled out and used across the country.

Project manager Michelle Reed said: “We are delighted to be able to work on such a worthwhile pilot environmental scheme, especially as it is the first time this system has been used on the strategic road network in England.

“The filtration system provides a physical barrier to polluted water, then chemical and biological mechanisms work in combination to break down even more pollutants. It also has the advantage of taking up far less space than other treatment systems, which makes it very cost effective. When completed, this work should significantly improve the quality of water running into Dean Burn and help to support the local environment and its wildlife.”

The scheme has been designed by Kier and will be delivered by South West Highways.

Over the last year a number of other biodiversity schemes have been undertaken by Highways England including grassland and wildflower creation schemes in Devon and Cornwall, and a scheme to protect and promote the habitat of the narrow-headed ant, England’s rarest ant, on the A38. Full story.

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