Bridgwater tidal barrier achieves major milestone
One of England’s biggest flood defence schemes has been given the go ahead. The Secretary of State (Defra) has determined to make a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) to authorise construction, operation, and maintenance of the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier Scheme (BTB). The BTB, proposed by the Environment Agency working with Sedgemoor District Council, will provide a 1-in-200-year standard of tidal flood protection to Bridgwater and its surrounding communities. The scheme will reduce tidal flood risk to 11,300 homes and 1500 businesses. It involves the construction of a tidal surge barrier, downstream flood defence work and additional work at 12 further sites to improve fish and eel migration upstream of the barrier site. Construction is due to commence in 2023 and is likely to take around four to six years. The design life of the barrier is 100 years.
Binnies UK, as a subconsultant to the Lead Designer Jacobs, led the environmental assessment of the scheme, including production of an environmental statement plus Habitats Regulations and Water Framework Directive assessments. This was successfully achieved on programme, without the need for a public inquiry, despite its scale and potential environmental sensitivity. Critical to this success was our collaboration with key stakeholders, such as Natural England and Somerset County Council, which were consulted throughout the project on all aspects, including the scope and timing of ecological surveys and proportionate mitigation. This built on good working relationships that had been developed between Binnies and key statutory stakeholders on previous schemes in the area.
The detailed design will be delivered through the Environment Agency’s Collaborative Delivery Framework (CDF). Jo Jolly, Deputy Director, Environment Agency, commented, “Binnies colleagues have demonstrated fantastic collaboration in the handover of the Bridgwater tidal barrier scheme from Water and Environment Management (WEM) appraisal/outline design to collaborative delivery framework CDF delivery.”
One challenge of the scheme is the programme duration from scoping to end of construction. It was agreed with stakeholders that detailed ecological surveys would be undertaken closer to the date construction start. This avoids repeat survey work and better informs protected species licence applications and/or the detail of mitigation design. This approach ensured that the consent applications were submitted ahead of programme and no objections were made from the environmental stakeholders. We look forward to supporting the project team through the next phase of the project.
At Binnies, we create new possibilities for humanity through our innovative approach to delivery. Backed by a culture that has stayed true since the company’s founding over 100 years ago, Binnies develops intelligent water and environmental solutions using a whole-life-cycle approach to deliver functional infrastructure and lasting environmental and social legacies. We strive to elevate the quality of life for our local communities today and for generations to come.
Binnies is an RSK group company and was formerly part of Black & Veatch.
About the RSK group (RSK)
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