Port Host Prestigious Institution of Civil Engineers

48 members of the Institution of Civil Engineers were treated to a fascinating and in-depth explanation of the Adur Tide Walls flood protection scheme at a meeting held at Shoreham Port. 

The £40 million pound scheme, currently about half-way through a two-year build programme, is designed to give greatly enhanced protection to hundreds of houses and businesses on either side of the lower reaches of the River Adur as it runs through Shoreham Town and Shoreham Beach in West Sussex before spilling into the sea between the Port’s harbour arms. 

Three speakers each gave a different perspective on the hugely complex task of threading giant construction equipment through ecologically sensitive environments to install flood defence structures around the historic built-up town centre, past the RSPB nature reserve and right upstream to Shoreham Airport and the Old Toll Bridge, which itself is listed as an Ancient Monument. 

Graham McClure of the Environment Agency gave the client’s view, setting out the enormous efforts made to ensure that the concerns of each of the wide range of stakeholders were addressed. Residents, businesses, fishermen, yachtsmen and conservation groups were each accommodated with changes and additions to the original designs and installation programmes. 

Nick Clarke of consultants Mott MacDonald gave the designer’s perspective, talking of the use of innovative designs like the glass panels used to raise the height of flood walls without spoiling residents’ views and describing the use of different structural forms in brick, masonry, steel and timber to create defences that are attractive and tailored to their setting as well as highly effective in keeping Shoreham dry.

Finally, Robert Pearson of contractors Team Van Oord (which incorporates local maritime specialist, J T Mackley) explained how enormous and heavy structures, such as 20 metre long steel piles used to make many of the walls, were installed with the minimum of damage to often ancient buildings close by.

Rob Pearson Contracts Manager for contractor Mackley (part of the Team Van Oord group) carrying out the work commented “The evening was a great success, Tony Parker was a welcoming host, the Port venue was ideal, and it was a great turn out on the night. It was nice to share some of the construction challenges we have overcome with the knowledgeable audience, and receive positive feedback. Thank you to the Port for facilitating the evening.”

The Port’s Director of Engineering, Tony Parker commented “The presentation was heavily oversubscribed as we only expected up to forty people in our boardroom, but every single person attending was full of praise for the expertise, enthusiasm and energy of the speakers and the quality of their presentation. The event was a great success and we are now planning to host further talks of a similar nature on local subjects of interest. Well done to all concerned.”

With over 91,000 current members, and with the list of past members including the illustrious Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Thomas Telford, the Institution of Civil Engineers, based in Westminster, London has formed the epicentre of civil engineering in the UK and around the world for two centuries. The Adur Tide Walls talk is a small part of a large programme of events arranged to celebrate civil engineering on the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Institution next year. 

For more information about the Institution of Civil Engineers please visit www.ice.org.uk

Shoreham Port Authority