The UK’s biggest coastal management scheme, on the Steart Peninsula in Somerset, has been named winner of a prestigious Environment Agency Project Excellence Award.
The £21 m Steart Coastal Management Project, carried out by Team Van Oord on behalf of the Environment Agency, will help protect homes and businesses from flooding due to climate change and rising sea levels, and has established a new nature reserve.
The Project Excellence Awards recognize excellent project work undertaken by the Environment Agency and its partners. For 2015 there were 53 individual projects entered across seven different categories, representing a total of 107 submissions. The finalists presented to the judging panel on 16 March.
As well as winning the ‘Sustainable Resource Management’ category, the Steart project was also a finalist in two other categories: ‘Managing Health, Safety & Environmental Risk’, and ‘Program & Project Delivery’.
The Steart Coastal Management Project is located next to the Severn Estuary on the Steart Peninsula. It is surrounded by internationally and nationally designated nature conservation areas forming part of the Severn Estuary Special Protection Area (SPA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Under the project, a new channel was created to deliberately flood 300 hectares (740 acres) of land to provide much-needed habitat for wading birds and wildfowl, and for water voles and great crested newts.