The full extent of the flood risk facing Beadnell has been revealed by engineers as they prepare to undertake a £1.2m repair scheme.
Royal HaskoningDHV, working on behalf of the Environment Agency, has submitted details of its plans to Northumberland County Council.
Steven Raynor of Royal HaskoningDHV reports: “Harbour Road is critical to sustaining the settlement of Beadnell. At the worst location, erosion has caused the coastal margin to come within only a few metres of the highway.
“Coastal erosion at Beadnell therefore threatens to cut off a large proportion of the village, along with Beadnell harbour, the only car park in the village (which is important for tourism) and two large static caravan holiday parks in Beadnell Bay.”
Although the repair plans are still to be finalised, proposals within the north ‘bay’ comprise maintenance repairs to the existing wall, infilling voids in the existing concrete toe defence, installing a 100m long section of rock armour at the toe of the wall and replacement of the existing parapet wall.
The main environmental impact would be the direct loss of up to 500 sq m of cobbly foreshore.
“The armour stone would help to dissipate wave energy at the toe and reduce the rate of undercutting,” explains Mr Raynor. However, the armour would not be large enough to have a significant impact on waves coming over in severe storm events.
This option would also require minor masonry works at ten year intervals in order to ensure a 100 year residual life of the sea wall.
The proposed scheme within the south ‘bay’ comprises removal of the existing gabions and replacement with rock armour. A proportion of the fill material excavated during removal of the existing gabions would be used to re-instate the existing ground level at the upper shore.
The rock armour would be placed within the footprint of the existing line of defence and as such would not result in the direct loss of foreshore.
“The key benefit of this option is that the armour stone provides a very high standard of protection against future erosion,” explains Mr Raynor.
It is anticipated the works within the north ‘bay’ and the northern section of the south ‘bay’ (for a length of approximately 125m) would commence in April 2015 and be completed by September 2015.
However, the impact this could have on tourism and recreational use of the area is acknowledged with access to the Beadnell frontage temporarily restricted and the partial closure of Harbour Road required during the construction phase.
If works over the winter are required, controls would have to be put in place to manage risks to over-wintering birds.