Outstrays to Skeffling Managed Realignment Scheme

Outstrays to Skeffling Managed Realignment Scheme

Creating new compensatory habitats for wildlife as part of a managed realignment scheme on the north bank of the Humber Estuary.

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Working collaboratively with a range of partners and stakeholders, we provided the detailed design and implementation for large scale habitat creation as part of this managed realignment scheme. Over 150 hectares of new intertidal habitat and supporting freshwater wet grassland will ensure that the unique environment of the Humber Estuary can be preserved and protected for future generations.

  • Client Environment Agency
  • Location Skeffling, Humber Estuary
  • Wider team and stakeholders JBA Bentley, ABP, Natural England, Wildlife Trust, Wetlands Trust, RSPB, local councils and naturalist groups
  • Services

Enabling improved flood resilience with large-scale habitat creation

The Humber Estuary is recognised as one of the most important estuaries for wildlife in Europe. It is protected as a site of nature conversation under national and international legislation and any habitat lost due to human interventions must be replaced with compensatory habitat, under the requirements of the Habitats Regulations.

However, the building of new flood defences in Hull and around the estuary, along with rising sea levels, has resulted in the loss of and degradation of habitats.

This managed realignment scheme involves building a new embankment further inland and then breaching the old embankment. As a result, seawater can enter through the breach enabling the creation of new intertidal habitats for a wide range of species, including rare and endangered birds. These intertidal mudflats and saltmarsh will play a vital role in the functioning of the estuary’s ecosystem.

Hectares of intertidal habitat created
Hectares of freshwater wet grassland created
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Residents living in Humber floodplain to benefit from improvements in flood protection

Integrated working to manage ecological constraints

Due to the highly environmentally sensitive nature of the site, collaborative working between the engineering and environmental teams was necessary to ensure ecological constraints were effectively managed. This included large exclusion zones, restricted working windows and the implementation of mitigation strategies for a number of species including Marsh Harrier, Water Vole, Badger and reptiles.

We also attempted an innovative technique for the translocation of Sea Aster Mining Bee colonies, to mitigate potential impacts on the existing colonies. This involved providing artificial nesting substrate in sand-filled boxed, and moving these before the bees emerged from hibernation into areas of newly created habitat.

Delivering multiple benefits to the environment and local communities

In addition to habitat creation, this project will improve flood protection for local communities and enable future flood protection for 400,000 residents living in the Humber flood-plain. Once the project is complete the site will also provide a number of bird hides/viewing points and footpaths for visitors to enjoy the area's wildlife.

Various community engagement events and STEM sessions with a local primary school on archaeological discoveries made in the area have ensured community support for the scheme. We have also engaged with a local higher education college in relation to the design of bird hides/viewing points for the site.

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For more information about this project, click here to read the Environment Agency project overview.

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Technology, Data and Software Development

Delivering transformative technology that is pioneering in the pursuit of flood, water and environmental resilience.

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Modelling and Assessment

Developing leading resilience strategies and solutions founded on the integrated modelling and assessment of water quantity, quality and environmental processes.

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Working within a robust and mature digital delivery environment, our engineering specialists work closely with our modelling, hydrology and environmental teams to ensure designs are developed to create efficient, low-carbon and sustainable solutions.

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Environment and Sustainability

Our specialists in landscape, heritage, ecology, fisheries, EIA, planning and sustainability all work collaboratively with our engineering designers, modellers and our project managers to develop resilient places.

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Resilience and Water Management

Our proven skills and experience make us a natural partner to help support communities and organisations to become more resilient. We support and empower our clients to manage the twin risks of flood and drought, encouraging and delivering effective water management.

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International Development

Working with communities across the world to identify and mitigate flood and environmental risks, support sustainable development and build resilience.

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