The proposed Old Colwyn coastal defence and active travel scheme in North Wales has been rated as outstanding for its strategy and design stages by sustainability assessment provider CEEQUAL. With a 32-40% reduction in carbon, it is the first project in the world to be rated as outstanding under the latest guidelines.
The Colwyn Bay coastline in North Wales has been suffering from rapidly deteriorating coastal defences, with storms resulting in lowering beach levels, frequent damage, promenade and highway closures and reactive emergency repair works.
Forming the third pillar of Conwy County Borough Council’s strategy for the Colwyn Bay waterfront, Mott MacDonald led the design for a permanent upgrade to the coastal defences as well as improvements to the promenade.
“We’re delighted to have received an outstanding award from CEEQUAL,” said Richard Griffiths, Divisional Director at Mott MacDonald. “We knew from the outset that there was a real opportunity to make a tangible difference on this project, not only in terms of sustainability and biodiversity, but also to deliver a revitalised piece of infrastructure that would serve local people. With Conwy Council, we were working with a client whose ambitions matched our own.”
CEEQUAL’s requirements were embedded into the project from the start and sustainability was integral to every aspect of the design, which involved drawing on expertise from Mott MacDonald’s coastal, structural, environmental and highways engineers. Design for Resource Efficiency (D4RE), a tool developed by Mott MacDonald, was also used at the outset of the design process, focusing the project team on aspects such as energy reduction, water reduction, and sustainable procurement.
“Through changes to our design and focused specification of materials, we’ve been able to achieve an estimated 32% reduction in carbon compared to original concept design, with a further estimated 8% in identified savings to be incorporated through the detailed design and construction phases,” said Richard.
“We’ve also been able to ensure biodiversity net-gain by creating different habitats for marine life, along with the planting of wildflowers.”
The newly designed coastal defences include the widening of the footpath and cycleway to fully segregate it from the road, encouraging sustainable travel and reducing the use of motorised vehicles. In addition, the scheme will provide ramped access to the beach, as well as an outdoor classroom in landscaped gardens.
The construction of the proposed full scheme is subject to securing the necessary funding, however if successful the project is expected to revitalise the promenade and wider Old Colwyn area and encourage tourism, upon which the region relies for income.