Good progress on North Somerset flood defence scheme

Working on behalf of the Environment Agency, Team Van Oord is making good progress on a £1.35m tidal defence scheme which will provide improved protection for more than 4,100 homes and businesses in North Somerset.

The Congresbury Yeo estuary is located between the towns of Clevedon (to the north) and Weston-super-Mare (to the south). The surrounding land is currently protected from flooding at times of extreme tidal events by the Congresbury Yeo Tidal Banks.

However, the banks have been subject to settlement since their last major refurbishment in 1968, which has reduced their designed standard of service from 1 in 100 years to less than 1 in 1 year. This has left the banks vulnerable to overtopping which in turn could cause scour to the landward slope and ultimately, a breach failure.

Under the Congresbury Yeo Tidal Banks scheme, the existing tidal defence embankment is being raised and widened. Three new sections of bank are being constructed and the existing banks topped up, to provide a 1 in 75 year standard of protection to property in Weston-super-Mare, Worle, and Kingston Seymour.

There are a number of site-specific constraints that the Team Van Oord project team is taking into account during construction of the scheme.

The Congresbury Yeo estuary flows into the Severn estuary and is therefore part of a site of international importance for nature conservation. It is designated as a Ramsar site, Special Protection Area (SPA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The project team has liaised closely with the Environment Agency, North Somerset County Council and Natural England to develop a comprehensive mitigation plan for a range of protected species including badgers, shelducks, nesting birds, water voles, reptiles, and great crested newts.

Giles Lord, from Team Van Oord, said: “We’re working closely with local stakeholders – including farmers, the parish council and the North Somerset Flood Action Group – to build trust and respect, and give the local community the confidence to approach us with concerns and ideas.”

Work commenced on site in March 2015 and is scheduled to be complete during November 2015.

13 July 2015