Portsmouth flood defences scheme praised as it wins design award

RECENTLY-INSTALLED flood defences along the east of Portsea Island have been recognised with a national award for their design.

By Josh Wright
Friday, 10th June 2022, 9:13 pm
Updated Friday, 10th June 2022, 9:13 pm

Coastal Partners, which is carrying out the £58m North Portsea Island Scheme upgrades, won in the coastal management category at Wednesday's Flood & Coast 2022 Conference and Excellence Awards.

The organisation's head of service Lyall Cairns said he was 'immensely proud' of the recognition.

'These flood defences have the potential to become a blueprint for future environmentally-driven sea defences,' he said. 'As a groundbreaking "greening the grey" solution, they benefit the local ecology, adapt to climate change and protect the community.'

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Flood defences installed alongside Langstone Harbour in Portsmouth

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The scheme, which stretches from Milton Common to Tipner, started in 2015 and is due to be completed in 2025 and includes the first 'large-scale' use of an ecoformliner in the UK.

Ecoformliners are a reuseable mould for the finish of seawalls and are aimed at improving coastal habitats while also strengthening their structure by encouraging the growth of vegetation.

Development of the technique was carried out in a partnership between University of Glasgow and Bournemouth University for the Portsmouth City Council-led project.

A special, UK-first design was created for the defences around Langstone Harbour with the support of the Environment Agency and this was recognised on Wednesday for its 'vast environmental benefits'.

Work on this section of the seawall began in April last year and is due to be completed in the autumn of next year, however Coastal Partners said the early stages of the new habitat had already began to establish itself.

It added that both Thames Estuary and Mumbles flood defence schemes were now considering similar approaches.

'This project demonstrates how collaborative government-university-industry partnerships can be harnessed to upscale eco-engineering research,' it said. 'By testing and knowledge sharing, this ‘greening the grey’ initiative is trailblazing the way forward for similar ecologically considerate construction projects of the future.'