A £5.2million tidal defence scheme aimed at reducing the risk of flooding to properties in Paull, on the north bank of the Humber Estuary, is now complete.
A total of 2,700 tonnes of rock armour has been placed, new flood gates have been installed and the existing embankment has been raised in the second stage of the Hull and Holderness Flood Alleviation Scheme (HaHFAS).
The first stage saw the creation of a 520m glass tidal wall along Paull’s embankment, which was completed in 2016. The innovative structure is the UK’s longest glass tidal defence structure.
Now complete, the four-year project has raised Paull’s tidal defences to a height of 6.8m above sea level, which will reduce the risk of flooding to around 1,500 properties in the area.
The work at Paull formed Phase 1 of HaHFAS and was delivered by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, working in partnership with the Environment Agency, the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and Hull City Council.
The scheme has been supported with £3m from the Local Growth Fund secured by the Humber LEP through its Growth Deals with Government, in addition to £1.74m of Flood Defence Grant in Aid administered by the Environment Agency, and a contribution from East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
The village of Paull suffered widespread flooding in 2013 caused by a tidal surge which, combined with high spring tides, resulted in record water levels.
The newly completed defences cover the full 900m length of Paull’s frontage and will help provide protection against a one-in-200-year storm event.
The defences were designed using a physical 3D scale model, which was tested in various storm surge scenarios.
Work to install the toughened glass-panelling on top of the existing tidal defence wall began in March 2016 and was completed in July 2016 by contractors C R Reynolds, of Hessle.
Work on the second stage, to build up the defences at either side of the glass wall, began in March 2017 and was carried out by contractors PBS Construction Ltd, of Hull.
Improvements were made by installing sheet piling and a new reinforced concrete structure over the existing tidal defences.
Then 2,700 tonnes of rock armour were placed against the wall at both the north and south ends of the village to help absorb the energy of the waves.
New flood gates, which were lowered in place by crane, were also installed at the village’s boat compound to the same height as the other defences.
Phase 1 of HaHFAS is the second major flood scheme to be completed in the East Riding, following the award-winning £14million Willerby and Derringham Flood Alleviation Scheme, which was completed in 2016.
Councillor Stephen Parnaby OBE, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “I’m extremely pleased to see the completion of another of our flood alleviation schemes for the East Riding and Hull areas.
“All the partners and contractors have worked together to produce something striking and innovative here at Paull which has been well received by the local residents.
“These tidal defences, and the other flood alleviation schemes we are currently working on, are vital in helping to reduce the risk of flooding to thousands of residents and businesses in our area.”
Paul Stockhill, East Yorkshire Partnership Manager for the Environment Agency, said: “The Environment Agency has been working closely with East Riding of Yorkshire Council and other partners on the flood defence works at Paull, as well as other schemes throughout the area.
“Across East Yorkshire and Hull, partners are collectively delivering more than £200m of flood alleviation work before the end of 2021.
“The Environment Agency are hoping to start construction of the £42.5m Humber Hull Frontages Flood Alleviation Scheme later this year, which will see approximately four miles of flood defences replaced or upgraded between Hessle and Paull.
“We have worked really closely with partners at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, to ensure our schemes are delivered in harmony, joining with their work conducted at Paull and planned works at Hessle.
“Together these schemes will help better protect thousands of homes and businesses from flooding from the Humber Estuary. It’s great to see our organisations delivering more together, than we could do individually.
“The Paull scheme has used some really innovative techniques, such as the use of 3D scale models. Installing the longest glass tidal wall in the UK, together with our £200m investment programme, show we are at the forefront of flood defence work and just how seriously we collectively take our work to better protect homes from flooding.”
Lord Haskins, Chair of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “It is welcome to see another flood alleviation scheme completed with the support of our Growth Deals with the Government.
“This is exactly the kind of innovative project we need to reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses along the Humber, and support future sustainable growth.”
Councillor Daren Hale, portfolio holder for flood management at Hull City Council, said:“It’s pleasing to see what can be achieved by all the partners and contractors involved in this ambitious and innovative project.
“Flood defence remains a high priority for all the local authorities in the area, and this project further strengthens our commitment to reducing flood risk for Hull and the East Riding.”
HaHFAS Phase 2
East Riding of Yorkshire Council and its partners will now move on to work on Phase 2 of HaHFAS which is scheduled over the next five years.
Phase 2 will be the inland stage of the scheme and, when complete, it will reduce the risk of flooding to 1,400 properties in areas of Hedon, Thorngumbald, Preston, Bilton and East Hull.
The project will involve the creation of water storage areas, including inter-connecting and diverting watercourses, to alleviate flooding from surface water.
The Humber Estuary around Paull supports internationally important numbers of waterfowl in winter and nationally important breeding populations in summer.
At each stage of HaHFAS, East Riding of Yorkshire worked closely with Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Marine Management Organisation to make sure the environmental impact of the construction process was kept to a minimum.
Prevention methods used included carrying out work at high tides to avoid disturbing birds on the mud flats, and reducing noise by using quiet piling techniques and using noise absorbing matting to reduce machine noise.
The glass wall was also designed with an in-built bird deterrent, with grids of dots encased in the glass to reduce the reflection from the sky. To date no bird strikes have been recorded on the glass.
Working with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, information boards have also been installed for those walking along the estuary.
Hessle Foreshore Tidal Defence Scheme
The glass wall design used at Paull is already being proposed for installation as part of another of East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s flood alleviation schemes, the Hessle Foreshore Tidal Defence Scheme.
Hessle Foreshore was also greatly impacted by the tidal surge in 2013.