Why is a coastal defence scheme needed at East Rhyl?
As it stands, East Rhyl is very susceptible to flooding, meaning the quality of life for the residents of the area is diminished. Therefore, the aim of the scheme is to alleviate flood risk in the area. It will reduce the likelihood of flooding and make flooding less severe when it does happen, for over 400 properties, between Brynhedydd Road and Tynewydd Road. We are aiming to prevent the return of the events of 2013 (where 130 properties were flooded, and 400 people were evacuated).
What is the scope of the project and how will it work?
Rock armour is a very popular method of coastal protection because it is relatively inexpensive and very effective. It works by absorbing and deflecting the energy of the tides, meaning the defended coastline remains uneroded. The gaps between the rocks slows down the flow of the water, meaning it has less erosive energy.
What work has been done so far?
There has been extensive modelling of the ocean currents in the area to help with the design. The engineers at JBA have finalised the design with Denbighshire County Council, and the Contractor Balfour Beatty. The environment specialists at JBA have completed an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the scheme - aiming to determine all possible impacts on the environment the scheme could have and looking at ways to mitigate them or prevent them from happening.
Planning Permission has been granted by Denbighshire County Council for construction of the works
A Marine Licence has been granted by Natural Resources Wales for construction of the works.
There have been extensive surveys taking place in Rhyl to aid design and construction. The most recent site visits have been species and habitat surveys from JBA ecologists and ground investigations, to inform the design.
How is the scheme being funded and how much will it cost?
The project to date has been being funded by the Welsh Government and Denbighshire County Council. To date some £1million has been allocated by both parties to enable design and development of the scheme.
When will work start and finish?
Construction is due to begin in Spring 2020. The design has been completed, planning permission has been granted, and a marine licence has been issued. Towards the end of 2019 preparatory works for the start of construction will begin. A completion date for the construction hasn't yet been confirmed - it could be slowed by unforeseen weather and tidal patterns.
Why can't work be done through the winter to allow the beach to be open in the summer?
We want the time between beginning the project and completing it to be as short as possible, to minimise the length of time that residents of Rhyl will be disrupted. Due to this we will be working all year round. Also, construction could be a little slower in the winter months through the limited daylight and potential weather delays.
What will the beach and promenade look like once the work is complete?
The promenade will be elevated to enable the seaward views over the new wall to be sustained. The beach will largely remain intact, subject to its usual variations in levels and a gradual background lowering of levels - a process that is happening along the entire North Wales shoreline. The rock armouring will cover the top 15-20m of the current beach but the existing access points will be restored and enhanced.
Will there still be a beach at East Rhyl?
Yes, there will - the scheme will be larger than the current sea defences, but they will not extend to full extent seawards. Over 90% of the beach at low tide will be unaffected.
How can I get down to the beach once it's finished?
There will be staircases built into the new sea defence structure, to ensure getting down to the beach remains easy.
Is the rock armouring safe?
The rock must have "roughness" and gaps to be able to absorb the energy from the waves. The placement of each rock is carefully and precisely done to ensure that the risk of subsequent movement is minimised. This approach is used in many locations across the UK and indeed globally and holds a good safety record.
What will happen to the access along and over the Promenade during construction?
Part of the promenade will have to be closed to the public during construction unfortunately, for the public's safety. A one mile stretch of the Promenade will be closed between the Pavilion Theatre and Rhyl Golf Course.
Can I still get to the beach during construction?
In the majority of Rhyl, access to and use of the beach areas will be completely unaffected. However, the stretch of beach between the Pavilion Theatre and the Golf Course will have restricted access for the duration of the construction so you may have to walk a little further to get down to the beach than you normally would.
How will the scheme be built?
Delivery and stockpiling of rock will form a major part of the construction approach. Sections of the new sea wall and promenade base will be pre-cast but some concrete works will be formed on site. Noise and dust will be minimised throughout the construction programme, in line with "Considerate Contractor" principles.
How will the construction affect me?
Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2019 / early 2020 and may take 18 months to 2 years to complete. There will be some closure of parts of Splash Point Beach, and a stretch of Rhyl Promenade will also be closed. Materials will be transported to the site by HGV, so if you live in Rhyl you might notice slightly more lorries on the road.
How are all the construction materials going to be brought on site?
The construction materials will be brought to the site by road. There are currently three proposed delivery routes to the site. These are:
Leaving the A55 at Junction 27, travelling north along the A525 to Rhuddlan, westbound along the A547 then northbound along the A548, then through Kinmel Bay and along west parade to the site.
Leaving the A55 at Junction 27, travelling north along the A525 to Rhuddlan, eastbound along the A547 to the B5120 to Victoria Road (A548), then westbound to the site.
Leaving the A55 at Junction 33, travelling along the A5119 northbound through Flint, joining the A548 at Flint and following it westbound, through Prestatyn, to the site.
Where will the rocks come from?
A number of sites, both locally and further afield have been identified for the supply off rock. Size, durability and density are key considerations.
What will happen to the old timber groynes?
The old timber groynes will remain in place, untouched. The new scheme will be built around them.
Will the scheme damage the sunken forest or other archaeology?
Systems will be in place to ensure that any archaeology found will be protected. The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust have writen an assessment for the area for the Environmental Impact Assessment for the scheme and have suggested measures to prevent impacts on archaeology. These measures will be implemented during the construction stage of the project. Much like impacts to wildlife, it is important to note that if the threats to wildlife or loss of heritage were deemed to be too great, the scheme would not be going ahead.
Will wildlife be affected by the project?
JBA Consulting have undertaken extensive surveys of the wildlife in the local area and have tailored the the scheme to ensure that impacts on wildlife are minimised in every way possible.
The birds that reside on Rhyl beach are already used to large amounts of disturbance from beach users, so we don't anticipate them being impacted by the scheme.
What are you doing to protect wildlife?
It is important that concerned members of the public know that if impacts to the environment were determined to be too great, the project would not be going ahead. We have assessed the potential impacts and decided that we can minimise the impacts with just a few simple actions:
Any existing rocky habitat that is damaged or removed during construction will be outweighed by the massive increase in rocky habitat as a result of the scheme;
During the stages where lighting will be needed to continue construction, it will be minimised, and directed toward the construction site, to avoid disturbing nesting birds;
Should any potential unforeseen wildlife issues arise during construction, a qualified ecologist will be called in to assess the situation;
Every measure will be taken to minimise the possibility of pollution to the natural environment.
An environmental clerk of works will be appointed.