UK: Walton Backwaters Dredging Completed

Dredging work has been carried out as part of a major initiative to deepen a channel used by leisure boats in Walton Backwaters.

Harwich Haven Authority (HHA) organised the operation west of Stone Point over two days and initial survey results indicate it has been successful.Further surveys will be required to cover a wider area and there will remain the need for a long term and sustainable solution to create unimpeded passage for yachts and other boats.

A previous survey revealed reduced depths and the narrowing of the channel which has made it difficult for deeper draft vessels to get through at lower states of the tide.

It could also present a problem when two or more vessels are passing each other at the narrowest point.

The survey at the end of June showed depths of as little as 0.5 metres (plus the height of the tide) due to a bar forming across the pinch point of the channel. Early indications show that is has now been improved to around 1.2metres (plus the height of the tide).

As a result of the problem local stakeholders joined forces in the hopes of coming up with a way of stopping the channel silting up.

As well as the work carried out by the HHA, the Environment Agency has pledged to seek out mapping information that might help to identify the extent of the recent changes, and inform plans for a longer term solution.

The stakeholders – which include the Environment Agency, Tendring District Council (TDC), The HHA, Titchmarsh Marina, Walton Fairways Committee, Natural England, Hamford Committee and local yachtsmen – recently got together to discuss the situation and a way forward.

Pam Sambridge, TDC’s Cabinet Member for Technical Services, said she is delighted that the Council played a key role in bringing interested parties round the table.

It was important that everyone approached this in a positive manner and looked to how the situation could be improved for the future,” she said.

By everyone pulling in the same direction we appear to be making significant headway.”

Navigation buoys were removed and then later replaced while the dredging took place last week.

The stakeholder group will be considering plans for a more sustainable long term solution once results of this initial work have been fully analysed.


Dredging Today Staff, August 8, 2012