Runswick Bay Coastal Defence Scheme

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

A plaque was unveiled today to mark the completion of a £2.288m award winning coastal defence scheme in the North Yorkshire village of Runswick Bay, which will give 100 years of improved protection to 113 homes and businesses and safeguard the village’s main income stream of tourism.

The Runswick Bay Coastal Protection Trust and local residents joined representatives from Scarborough Borough Council, Environment Agency, Royal HaskoningDHV, JBA Consulting and ESH Construction to celebrate the end of the construction project to protect the village’s concrete seawall with around 9,500 tonnes of high density granite armour stone after it had reached the end of its serviceable life.

The newly created rock revetment defence, which is 250 metres long, eight metres wide and two metres high, will provide better protection to the village, including six listed structures, by helping to combat the effect of predicted rising sea levels and increased storminess.

The impact of the new defence structure on the local environment has been a key consideration of the scheme, with particular attention paid to not causing damage to the multitude of designated sites within the vicinity, such as the Runswick Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), North York Moors Special Protection Area and Runswick Bay Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), as well as the area being part of the Heritage Coast.

Where possible, the scheme has also sought to protect and enhance the ecological habitat, including the innovative creation of more than 100 rock pools in the stone revetment, which is the largest creation of rock pools in the country. The actual style of placement of the armour stones has also created 20 natural rock pools and the use of seed rocks is helping to speed up the colonisation of the structure. Within two weeks of installation, habitat colonisation had begun.

The research and habitat creation trials that informed construction were undertaken by Hull University in partnership with Scarborough Borough Council and supported by Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation. The University of Bournemouth has been commissioned to monitor the site’s habitat evolution during the next three years and the council is considering where else along the borough’s coastline it could retro-fit pools into existing rock armour structures.

Members of the local community were involved in steering the design and construction of the scheme and more importantly made financials contributions totalling £100,000 to the scheme via the Runswick Bay Coastal Protection Trust. It is the first major coastal defence project on the Yorkshire coast to receive financial support from the local community.

Core funding of £1.488m came from a Defra Grant in Aid administered through the Environment Agency and there was a £700,000 in kind contribution from Yorkshire Water, who undertook the enabling works to allow the main works to be constructed.

In the short time since completion, the scheme has already gained recognition in the following awards:

  • Design Award Winner 2018 for Best Landscaping Project awarded by North York Moors National Park Authority
  • A Gold Award Winner in the Building and Construction category of the International Green Apple Award 2018 for Environmental Best Practice
  • Shortlisted for The Institution of Civil Engineers Yorkshire & Humberside Awards (Smeaton Award) which is for projects of a value less than £5million that demonstrate outstanding civil engineering work. Award winner yet to be announced.
Picture showing the unveiling of the plaque at Runswick Bay