Engineering Excellence award for VHE and AMCO
24 June 2015
The Belford Flood Alleviation Scheme carried out in partnership with our sister company AMCO Engineering, on behalf of the Environment Agency, recently won the 2015 ICE North East Robert Stephenson Award in the Small Project Category (Under £500k). These prestigious, regional awards are held to promote and reward excellence in civil engineering.
There are records of flood events in Belford dating back to 1877; between 2005 and 2007 there were five separate flooding incidents. Traditional flood defences are not suitable for Belford owing to the high cost, lack of space for flood walls and not meeting the criteria for Grant-in Aid funding due to the low number of properties at risk. Accordingly, the Environment Agency, Newcastle University, AMCO and VHE addressed the problem by developing a solution using soft engineered runoff management features.
The scheme included a number of innovative and sustainable initiatives including the creation of bunded storage areas with outlet pipes to control the discharge of water back into the stream, the installation of recycled plastic sheet piles to create a series of storage areas and a woven Willow barrier which created a living flood defence. These initiatives add to a long list of successful river environment protection projects undertaken by VHE and contribute excellent additional knowledge in the management of flood plains and sustainable protection, a key driver on all VHE projects.
The award was presented by Professor David Balmforth, the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, at the Institutes North East’s annual dinner. The Judges of the award commented on the project:
_ “The Belford scheme is an excellent example of collaboration between academia and the statutory bodies to develop a new approach for managing flood risk. The outcome being a cost effective, environmentally sustainable, simple, flexible solution utilising ‘low technology’ that blends with the rural setting. The scheme has achieved both national and international recognition via the technical press and public media, whilst providing long-term benefits to the local community.”_
For more information on the Belford Flood Alleviation scheme or to find out more about our sustainable approach to civil engineering works, please call VHE on 01226 320150 and speak to one of our team.