Atkins' Willowbank Island flood scheme launched
25 June 2007, News release from Atkins
Atkins, the design and engineering consultancy, has opened the Willowbank flood protection scheme in Uxbridge this month. This scheme alleviates flooding to 97 residential properties on Willowbank Island and has been completed using sustainable and environmentally friendly design.
The £710k Environment Agency flood defence scheme, much welcomed by residents, was officially opened on the 9th June by Dominic Grieve MP. The event was an opportunity to celebrate the successful delivery of this project with the residents who have benefited from the works and the project team who delivered it. Attendees included the MP for Beaconsfield, members of the Atkins design team, contractors (Breheny) and the Environment Agency, as well as residents of the Island itself.
Atkins has been working with the Environment Agency on the project since 2004, leading its pre-feasibility, design and site supervision. The project involved the reconstruction of a flood protection bund on the River Colne to prevent flooding of properties when the river level was higher than normal following heavy rain.
An innovative solution helped to overcome working area constraints and instability of the existing bund. With no practical access from land, the contractors Breheny and Atkins had to devise a way to bring equipment to the worksite across the water. This entailed construction of a temporary trackway in the river bed to allow the construction plant to work along the length of the bund. The design of the trackway minimised the effect on river flows and the impact to local fish and wildlife. It also brought an added benefit of avoiding damage to local resident's homes and gardens.
Further solutions included placing a waterproof barrier of sheet piles down through the riverbank to prevent water seeping through to the properties. In addition, the rock toe protection in the river was covered with a layer of gravel to keep the riverbed a healthy spawning site for the river's fish population while reeds and grasses have been planted along the water's edge.
Due to effective environmental control measures adopted during the work, the river has remained clean and the fish and wildlife are still thriving in the area.
Environment Agency Project Manager Steve Whipp stated: "It was important we involved residents in developing the right solution to protect the homes on Willowbank Island. This work will bring the flood defence back to a high standard of protection and improve the environment in the river."
"The success of this project has been due to close co-operation between the project team, including Atkins, to address and resolve the environmental and access constraints of the site."
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