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Flood Risk Management Scheme Works to Preserve an International Nature Reserve

Flood Risk Management Scheme Works to Preserve an International Nature Reserve

Project Name
Minsmere Flood Risk Management Scheme
RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve, Suffolk, England
Environment Agency

The Minsmere Nature Reserve is owned by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Suffolk, England. The reserve is internationally designated as a Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Ramsar Site (wetland of international importance). It is located on one of the UK’s fastest-eroding coastlines. But resisting coastal change through hard-engineering is often not the most sustainable solution. Therefore, the Minsmere Flood Risk Management Scheme was developed to allow natural coastal change to occur while protecting the majority of the freshwater features.
Black & Veatch developed a business case for the solution, which was identified through close working with Natural England, the RSPB, the Environment Agency and other stakeholders. The solution was to allow the most at-risk coastal defenses to continue to evolve under natural processes in one area whilst protecting the majority of the freshwater site against coastal flooding.

Award Winner

The Environment Agency led and funded the £1 million sea defences project, with Black & Veatch providing detailed design and site supervision. For the construction phase of the works, Black & Veatch continued to provide design and environmental support.

An existing earth embankment separates two areas of the Minsmere site. This was rebuilt to provide a controlled cut-off between the two areas and therefore an improved line of defence from coastal flooding within the RSPB reserve. A new culvert was constructed through the bank and an associated water control structure was installed. Two coastal bunds were also required to help reduce erosion on the coastal frontage.

The project has earned multiple including the Gold-level Green Apple Award; the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) East of England Merit Award; and the Association for Project Safety (APS) ‘Engineering Project of the Year’ Award.

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