It has been a busy and productive year for the Team Van Oord teams working in the East of England on behalf of the Environment Agency. Here’s a quick-fire round up of some of the projects undertaken in 2016.
Project Lincshore is the Environment Agency’s flagship scheme to replenish Lincolnshire beaches, thereby helping reduce flood risk to thousands of homes and businesses along the coast.
The scheme comprises an annual campaign of dredging sand from a designated offshore location using one of Team Van Oord’s Trailing Suction Hopper Dredgers. The material is then pumped to the shore via a floating pipeline to replace sand lost during winter storms. The sand is required to maintain effective protection of the primary hard sea defences by reducing the risk of waves reaching and overtopping the main sea defences, thereby protecting them from damage and erosion.
Project Lincshore, which first began in 1994, replenishes the beaches between Skegness and Mablethorpe and, in the immediate coastal floodplain, protects 20,000 residential properties, 1,700 commercial properties, 30,000 static caravans, 35,000 hectares of high grade agricultural land and infrastructure worth several billion pounds.
During 2016, Team Van Oord placed and profiled around 350,000 cubic metres of sand obtained from its Crown Estate licensed offshore dredging areas, to reinstate the beaches to their design level and profile.
Project Lincshore was showcased at an annual gathering of Europe’s coastal engineers in September 2016. Around 80 delegates who attended ‘KRING 2016’ made a site visit to Project Lincshore as part of the three-day event held on 25-27 September.
KRING is an annual event for coastal engineers and scientists in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and other countries bordering the North Sea and Baltic. The 62nd KRING meeting was hosted by the Environment Agency in Lincolnshire and included a focus on flood and coastal defence schemes located on England’s north east coast.
Team Van Oord was invited by the KRING organising committee to assist the Environment Agency in presenting and showcasing the project.
Andrew Rouse, Environment Agency Project Executive and Paul Hesk, Team Van Oord Regional Manager described the project’s history, importance and delivery before leading a guided tour of a stretch of the site from Acre Gap to Sandiland Golf Club.
Happisburgh to Winterton Sea Defences
Team Van Oord completed the latest phase of major works to maintain the sea defences between Happisburgh and Winterton in North Norfolk.
This latest phase was part of the Environment Agency’s long-term Coastal Management Plan to protect the coast in this part of East Anglia, and Team Van Oord first began working in the area back in 2008.
This stretch of the Norfolk coast often erodes, increasing the risk of a breach to the seawall. This, in turn, risks flooding to agricultural land, property and designated conservation sites, including the Norfolk Broads.
Under the latest phase of works between Sea Palling and Winterton, which started in October 2015, life-expired timber and steel groynes were replaced by new 70-80m long groynes built from 10-15 tonne rocks, similar to those built over the last 15 years on this stretch of coastline.
Around 24,000 tonnes of rock was transported by barge from Norway. Due to its size, the main barge remained anchored offshore while a smaller barge transferred the rock to the beach in loads of around 1,200 tonnes.
The smaller barge arrived at the beach at times of high tide and unloaded the rock, which was then picked up at low tide by excavators and placed into its final position.
The work took place on a sensitive part of the coastline and was governed by the need to accommodate nesting Little Terns and the Grey Seal pupping season.
Natural England, Friends of Horsey Seals and local landowners were all consulted in order to minimise the risk of disturbing any seal pups.
The dunes at the site are among the best in Europe and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The dunes are also home to Natterjack toads, while the area also has the East Coast’s largest breeding colony of grey seals.
The earliest records of human structures in northern Europe were discovered nearby and there is a legacy of unexploded ordnance and partly intact World War 2 landing craft defences.
Measures taken to reduce risks included expert monitoring of seal reactions during construction, agreed buffer zones and a protocol for suspending works if the seals appeared in any way distressed.
Full borehole surveys were also undertaken for an archaeological appraisal, and unexploded ordnance specialists who drew up risk maps to guide safety measures, and were on hand to provide supervision during excavation.
Whittlesey Washes Reservoir forms part of a major flood defence system for the river Nene in Peterborough.
The project involved strengthening 16km of the reservoir’s 18km south bank by placing 300,000 tonnes of material and installing a low level, 250m long concrete wall.
The works were completed a year ahead of programme despite having to comply with a working window of July to October to avoid disturbing overwintering and ground nesting birds.
Whittlesey Washes was acclaimed at the 2016 ICE East of England Merit Awards, with a Merit Award in the ‘Team Achievement’ category.
Great Ouse, Norfolk
During 2016 TVO completed a scheme to remove asbestos piles and replace them with new steel piles and capping beam along a stretch of the Great Ouse embankment.
The works, carried out with floating plant, were phased to minimise impact on local businesses and river users. The team prioritised sections where the asbestos piles were most seriously damaged.
One stretch, which affected The Ship pub and restaurant at Brandon Creek and included moorings adjacent to the pub, had completely failed and required immediate action.
The potential consequences for the business were serious, with a number of functions booked to take place throughout the summer 2016.
Perry Dale, Team Van Oord’s Contracts Manager for the project, said: “We spent considerable time liaising with the landlord to mitigate the impact of our works.
“Our site management and operations team worked closely with the landowner and landlord, and all parties were in constant communication throughout the scheme. We scheduled the works between functions and moved plant upstream while events were being held at the pub.”
Writing after the works were completed, Keith Thomas, landlord of The Ship, said: “I am writing to say how much we appreciate the work that has been completed recently. On behalf of ourselves and our regular boating customers, please pass on our many thanks (to the team).
“I would also like to compliment the team from (TVO sub contractor) Drake Towage – they were excellent, diligent in their efforts and could not have been more helpful in maintaining access whenever possible.
“The approach to the work was extremely professional and carried out with exemplary tidiness and finishing touches.”
25 January 2017