18 Oct 2018

Work will soon commence by team Van Oort on an innovative flood protection scheme for households, infrastructure and agricultural land on the West Somerset coast. Team Van Oord is a Joint Venture partnership between Van Oord, Kier, Mackley and Royal HaskoningDHV.

Royal HaskoningDHV was involved in the design for the scheme, created using proven Dutch techniques on behalf of the Environment Agency.The village of Stolford and surrounding area is currently protected from flooding by a shingle ridge that needs regular recharging. The new approach uses Dutch-style block revetments to deliver better long-term sustainability. The approach will transfer the primary flood defence to an existing earth bank further inland.

The bank will be improved to withstand water levels and waves that would only be expected once in a hundred years. Even in these storm conditions it is designed to remain intact, with any wave ‘overtopping’ at an acceptable level.

The £850k scheme at Stolford - located on the Bristol Channel, just east of Hinkley Point – will replace conventional rock revetments with blocks, as developed in the Netherlands. Jaap Flikweert, Leading Professional Flood Resilience with Royal HaskoningDHV, said: “The project team reviewed the initial standard rock revetment design and agreed there was a need to look at alternative solutions.

“We added ‘Dutch style’ block revetments to the shortlist and developed outline designs of all options to meet the technical requirements.”

“Block revetments are the default solution in the Netherlands for protecting sea banks against waves. Today’s solutions are the result of extensive research in the Dutch market.”

The project has received funding from the Dutch Government’s ‘Partners for Water’ programme, which supports the use of Dutch water management innovations worldwide, with the aim of improving global resilience while supporting Dutch business.

The approach could position block revetments as a competitive option for many other coastal defence projects in the UK and worldwide.

The implementation of the Stolford scheme, including transport to site and placement of the blocks, will commence in early November and is expected to be complete before the end of 2018.