Quirky coastal defence that doubles as habitat shortlisted for award

The Newlyn Coastal Research & Development Project has been shortlisted by The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) South West Civil Engineering Awards 2023.

The Newlyn Coastal Research & Development Project is trialling innovative new ways of offering better protection to coastal communities while improving habitat for coastal biodiversity. It puts a new twist on the classic method of using rock armour by using local supply chains for low-carbon concrete blocks. Each block comes in a variety of patterns and configurations and hardy enough to cope in a challenging breakwater environment. The unique designs on the blocks offer a foothold for coastal biodiversity like algae to cling to, each block becoming a mini habitat.

The Newlyn project was selected as one of 14 project finalists.

Harriet Googe of the Environment Agency said: “We and our partners Kier and Atkins are very pleased to see the work at Newlyn to investigate better protection with better habitats being shortlisted in a very competitive field.

“The sight of these eco blocks has created a positive buzz in Newlyn and taken us to classrooms to share these lessons as well as host children’s art works around our compound.”

Following a second round of judging, including a site visit by a panel of industry leaders, the winners will be announced at a gala ceremony in Bristol on Friday 10 November, hosted by Rob Bell, TV presenter and engineer.

The public can also get involved by voting for the project they would like to see win the People’s Choice Award.

Miranda Housden, ICE South West Regional Director, said: “The People’s Choice Award is a great opportunity to promote civil engineering to the public and celebrate the hard work that civil engineers engage in to benefit the region’s communities.

“I’d encourage everyone to find out more about the outstanding projects on the shortlist and cast a vote for the scheme they think has had the greatest positive impact for local communities.”

The deadline for voting is 5pm on Tuesday 29 August 2023.

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