The £16m Greatham South Flood Alleviation scheme has been completed. The BAM Nuttall Mott MacDonald joint venture (JV) was commissioned by the Environment Agency in 2017 to design and build the second and final phase of the management scheme which addresses flooding concerns in Port Clarence and Greatham South area in the north of England.
There is a history of flooding in the area and existing conditions presented a risk of flooding to residents, landowners and government agencies. In 2013 a catastrophic breach of existing flood defences resulted in millions of pounds of damage to local industry and homes in Port Clarence village. To mitigate future flooding, works were carried out to increase the standard of protection of the flood embankments at Greatham South to protect 350 homes and 32 businesses against a one in 200-year flood event occurring in 2065, which would account for 50 years of sea level rise.
The Environment Agency partnered with two businesses that have a presence in the area, INOVYN gave necessary land for realignment and SABIC provided funding for construction. Once secured, the BAM Nuttall Mott MacDonald JV was re-commissioned by the Environment Agency at the beginning of 2017, following a successful initial design phase, to provide further detailed design support and construction. Work included raising existing defences, building new defences, installing culverts and habitat development. Environmental impact assessments were performed, and construction was also supervised from an environmental perspective. Software was used to model the scheme and the JV worked closely with the Environment Agency and supported its Ecological Clerk of Works to ensure that the most effective and sustainable solution was delivered.
Due to the environmental importance of the area Mott MacDonald integrated an ecologist into the BAM Nuttall site team. The team worked closely with Natural England and the RSPB. They also collaborated with architects on creating seal and bird hides, the designs for these came from a competition at a local university. A live feed was setup in a local RSPB reserve that allowed people to see seals and other wildlife near the construction site. Works on the scheme were carried out between March and November due to the presence of overwintering birds.
Project manager Howard Clapp said “It is fantastic to work on a project that will protect the homes and livelihoods of so many people. The site of the flood alleviation scheme is recognised environmentally because of its importance to seal populations and as a habitat for birds. It’s been great to work on a project where we could provide improvements for both people and local habitats.”
Works were completed in December 2018.