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Minsmere Flood Risk Management Scheme

Minsmere Flood Risk Management Scheme

Minsmere Flood Risk Management Scheme

The construction of a large new cohesive embankment with a central flow control structure, sheet piling, working within marshland and significant access constraints.

Minsmere Flood Risk Management SchemeMinsmere, is internationally designated for its coastal and freshwater nature conservation features. Interserve developed a flood risk management scheme and created a secondary line of defence within the reserve to protect the freshwater site to the south whilst allowing the coastal habitat to the north to migrate landwards under coastal processes.

Key Challenges

The RSPB Minsmere Reserve is a large attraction with over 80,000 visitors annually. The site was in a remote location and the local rural road network was very sensitive to lorry deliveries which posed a challenge for the delivery of the 6,000m3 of material needed to be imported for the works.

At pre-construction stage, the project team worked closely with stakeholders to identify constraints, areas of high public safety risk and possible mitigation measures.

Early discussion identified a preferred route from the main road, which utilises roads that are the most suitable for lorries and avoided villages as much as possible. Traffic Management was discussed with the local community via the Parish Council and public exhibitions. The impact on public footpaths was also addressed. 

A detailed Traffic Management Plan was developed that introduced the use of traffic marshals to facilitate safe and smooth entry and exit to the site along the narrow approach roads.

The design of the overall scheme ensured for the re-use of existing materials in the works to further reduce the number of traffic movements and waste to landfill.

Protecting the Environment

Effective species specific mitigation plans were developed to protect a number of rare birds and protected species such as bats, water voles reptiles as well as protected flora and fauna that were present within the site compound area.


The new coastal defence embankment was constructed within a reedbed, with highly compressible and water logged ground. The design made use of the areas of better ground condition and used geotexitle and hard core layers to create a foundation at the embankment toe. The construction phase commenced in mid August, immediately after the bird nesting season had finished. This meant carrying out the works through the autumn and winter months. Careful programming allowed the earthworks to be executed with a minimum of downtime due to weather.


The project was completed to time and within budget. Early planning allowed us to work within the busy nature reserve to continue with the minimum of disturbance to people and the environment.


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