UK coastal protection: Dorset beach receives armour stone

uk coastal protection
© iStock/antonyspencer

A new joint venture has shored up UK coastal protection by deploying armour stone along the coast of Dorset’s West Bay.

West Bay, which is part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, has experienced high levels of coastal erosion; but the new UK coastal protection project – delivered as part of a £9m (€9.71m) project spanning the Dorset region – is expected to arrest the progress of the erosion. 36,000 tonnes of armour stone has been delivered from Glensanda, Scotland, to the East and West shores of West Bay by SeaRock, a partnership endeavour between building materials provider Aggregate Industries and civil engineering and coastal defence firm Earlcoate Construction.

SeaRock, which provides armour stone for UK coastal protection and flood prevention, oversees the quarrying, transport and handling of the stone it provides. After the initial delivery from Aggregate Industries’ Glensanda quarry to an offshore anchorage area near Dorset’s Marine Conservation Zone, SeaRock transported the stone to shore with the support of specialist shallow draft tug operator Holyhead Towing; with shipments weighing between 1,200 tonnes and 1,800 tonnes per tide. Each individual armour stone in the delivery weighed between 0.3 tonnes and 10 tonnes; the full delivery, which took 15 days, was optimised to ensure the minimum of impact on fishing routes and the conservation area.

Stephen Dryden, Overseas Director at Aggregate Industries, said: “Aggregate Industries had previously supplied a 26,000-tonne project to renovate and protect the harbour at Portrush in Northern Ireland, but in that instance the customer collected the rock armour. That made us think [that] in future our customers would benefit from us managing the entire process; [and] that led to us forming SeaRock by partnering with specialist civil engineer Earlcoate and acquiring the SeaRock 1 barge on a long term charter. Our first project as SeaRock at West Bay went smoothly and is testament to the expertise of all parties involved.”


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