Lucky 13 for flood defence scheme!

A flood defence scheme carried out by Team Van Oord on behalf of the Environment Agency has scooped its 13th award in the past 12 months.

The latest accolade for the Medmerry Managed Realignment Scheme in West Sussex came in the CIPR Pride Awards for the south of England, which were presented on 21 November.

The PRide Awards recognise and reward the work of leading public relations teams and other organisations, with the winners announced at a series of UK-wide events. Nationally, the 2014 CIPR PRide Awards received around 1,100 entries from across the UK.

The CIPR South of England and Channel Islands PRide Awards cover Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Devon, East Sussex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Somerset, Surrey, The Channel Islands, West Sussex, and Wiltshire.

The Medmerry scheme received a silver CIPR award in the Community Relations Campaign category. This is the second award the scheme has received during November 2014, and the 13th in the past 12 months.

Aware that local residents doubted that a managed realignment scheme would work, the project team set up the Medmerry Stakeholder Group (MStAG) to involve the local community in the project. Comprising representatives from local authorities, parish councils, businesses and other local interest groups MStAG channeled input from, and fed back decisions and information to, the local community.

Jacqui Bandy, marketing executive for Team Van Oord, said: “We listened to concerns from the wider community. Working with them enabled us to include and deliver local development opportunities.

“On MStAG’s advice we included a network of new footpaths, bridleways, viewpoints and car parks in what is now the new RSPB nature reserve at Medmerry.

‘We also employed a dedicated public liaison officer who proved invaluable in managing the large number and range of stakeholders.

“Our communications approach centered around digital media with regular e-updates distributed to more than 500 recipients, a dedicated webpage for scheme information and links to Flickr and YouTube.

“During construction we involved the local community as much as possible through guided walks, school visits and archaeology days. Local volunteers also helped with scrub clearance, archaeology fieldwork, and universities are assisting with ongoing monitoring and research.”

Other awards presented to the Medmerry team in the past 12 months include:

2014 British Construction Industry (BCI) Awards – two awards, including the top award of the night, The Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award, which is sponsored by The Cabinet Office. The other win was the Civil Engineering Project of the Year (£10m to £50m) Award.

• The Environment Agency’s Project Excellence Award for Sustainable Resource Management.

• The Institute of Civil Engineers South East Award for Environment & Sustainability.

• The Chartered Institution of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Award for Best Stakeholder Engagement, Best Practical Nature Conservation (joint winner) and the Tony Bradshaw Award in recognition of an ‘exceptional project that set an overall impressive standard’.

• The International Building Press Communications and PR Award for ‘2014 Integrated Campaign’

• The Constructing Excellence Awards (South) for Innovation (and ‘Highly Commended’ in the sustainability category).

Medmerry Managed Realignment Scheme
Opened in November 2013, the Medmerry flood defence project involved the construction of four miles of new sea walls to reduce the flood risk to hundreds of properties in the area. The lifesaving defences held firm throughout last year’s floods and the scheme has been hailed as a gold standard of flood defence in the UK.

The project also created a new wetland for local wildlife to flourish and much of the site is now managed by the RSPB as a nature reserve.

By building this new form of defence, £300,000 per annum has been saved for the taxpayer and additional growth has been brought to the local area by allowing businesses to operate year round without the risk of flooding.

The Environment Agency published two short films tracking progress at Medmerry:
June 2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggQbxJ64X24
August 2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE5_cXHZBHk

2 December 2014