Runswick Bay Environmental Impact Assessment and ecological innovation
An award-winning project to protect communities from flood risk and enhance the ecology of a highly environmentally sensitive area through innovations in habitat creation.
Runswick Bay is a popular tourist location located on the North Yorkshire coast, which lies within a marine conservation zone. Parts of the village are also designated as conservation areas for their historical and aesthetic value, making this a highly environmentally sensitive area.
- Client Environment Agency,
- Location Runswick Bay,
North Yorkshire Moors National Park
- Partners Esh Contracting,
Scarborough Borough Council,
Award-winning and innovative solutions focused on coastal protection and ecological enhancement
Following studies commissioned by the Environment Agency (EA) and Scarborough Borough Council it was concluded that the seawall on the south side of Runswick Bay was at risk of collapsing as a result of its rapidly deteriorating condition and a historic landslide.
Working as design partners alongside Esh Contracting the design and build scheme aimed to reduce the risk of coastal erosion, deterioration of the seawall, wave overtopping and flooding. This presented an opportunity to provide a solution that not only took into account the environmental sensitivity of the area, but also had innovation at its core to ensure long-term ecological enhancement and coastal protection.
Through close collaboration between our coastal, maritime, river engineering and environmental management teams we were able to present various solutions, with the preferred option being the construction of a 180m rock armour fillet.
Working with Scarborough Borough Council and Natural England, our environmental team adopted an innovative approach to the rock armour, which included distressing the boulders and placing seed boulders to encourage colonisation by marine invertebrates. Due to the size and nature of the proposal, our team also prepared a statutory Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Statement and marine licence.
Protecting architectural heritage and reducing flood risk
Whilst protecting the Runswick community from flood risk was the highest priority, it was also essential that our design made a positive contribution to the village's landscape setting and rich ecology. This was achieved through careful consideration of the environmental sensitivity of the area and scientific innovations in habitat creation that we trialled in collaboration with Hull University. These methods of habitat creation were the largest of their type in the UK and included the creation of man-made rock pools, the generation of natural pools through armour placement and the addition of coarse grooves into new rock armour. The placement of the existing natural rocks alongside the toe rocks of the new structure also allowed for seeding of the new rock armour and encouraged fast colonisation of the new material.
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