Some infrastructure projects are carried out to create new communities whilst others are commissioned to protect what already exists. The projects that we are talking about today fall into the latter category.
We would like to congratulate Balfour Beatty on successfully securing two new coastal defence contracts with Denbighshire County Council. With a combined value of £97M, these contracts will see the construction company replacing over 600m of existing sea walls in Rhyl and constructing a new coastal erosion embankment in Prestatyn.
These new contracts continue the construction firm's business relationship with the Denbighshire County Council for whom they were engaged under the East Rhyl Coastal Defences scheme in 2022. They completed this ahead of schedule, protecting 1650 properties in the East Rhyl region from the effects of coastal flooding.
Why Coastal Defences Are Needed
The need for effective coastal defences is more prevalent now than ever before, as parts of Britain's coastline are subject to coastal flooding, storm surges, shoreline recession and beach erosion as a result of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and the effects of global warming.
To protect ports, transport links, homes and communities, innovative solutions need to be employed. Balfour Beatty has a strong track record in this area, being the first UK company to implement glass fibre-reinforced plastic defences alongside traditional concrete reinforcements. The company has delivered over 75 coastal protection and flood defence projects in 15 years, with the vast majority delivered on time and to budget and all meeting or exceeding their stated performance requirements.
Rhyl and Prestatyn are both areas that have been identified as weak by Denbighshire County Council in terms of their existing coastal defence infrastructure. Work will begin later this month to implement the necessary repairs and to install the new infrastructure required.
Rhyl Sea Wall Replacement
This project will take approximately two years to complete and will involve replacing over 600m of existing sea walls between Drift Park and Splash Point with a new rock armour defence. The works will also include creating a wider, raised promenade with a stepped revetment and a rock infill to protect the 600 homes and businesses in the town from rising sea levels.
The plans will also improve beach access for locals and tourists alike, with a wheelchair-accessible ramp and new steps set to be installed to ensure that the beach can be enjoyed by all.
Prestatyn Coastal Erosion Embankment
A risk assessment of existing coastal defences in Prestatyn identified that over 2000 properties in the area are at risk of flooding due to the deteriorating condition of existing flood defences and the low land elevations behind the existing defences, which would allow flood water to affect a large area.
Anticipated to last three years, this project will create a new embankment along the coastline. It will span a distance of 1600m and protect the coastline from erosion. As a further environmental benefit, Balfour Beatty have committed to creating new habitats for protected species that will be affected by the works and will encourage foraging birds to the area by spreading a diverse mix of grasses and wildflowers along the coastal embankment.
Balfour Beatty have an excellent reputation for employing a local workforce for their projects and these latest engagements are no different. Up to 40% of the workforce that is required for these projects is expected to comprise local workers. With up to 120 people anticipated to be involved at the peak of the works, this will equate to circa 50 local people employed in a construction project that will benefit their hometown or local area.
The company will look to offer 22 apprenticeships, graduate opportunities and trainee positions to bolster the more experienced workforce and to provide vital development opportunities for those seeking to pursue or progress a career in the construction industry.
Build Space has been working with Balfour Beatty for the last couple of years, supporting both their Construction and Civils works. We have helped build teams for high rise residential schemes, HS2, major highways projects and now these coastal defence works.