ABP appoints Boskalis Westminster as dredge contractor

ABP has announced that Boskalis Westminster have been appointed to carry out the major dredging works in Southampton Water and the Nab Channel. Click here to see the announcement.

3 million cubic metres of spoil will be dumped off the Nab. SPS has expressed its concern at a recent habitat creation conference that this could  represent a loss of material some of which could otherwise be used to offset the loss of saltmarsh in the Solent area. It  is good to report that discussions involving Boskalis and the SPS  arranged by ABP Mer are to take place in the New Year, though it must be accepted that any change in existing plans, which have taken six years to secure necessary consents, cannot delay the dredge programme

Cornelis Zanen

.ABP has proposed a series of measures to minimise the effects of the works on the environment. As well as managing water quality and monitoring sediment levels, a compensatory intertidal habitat scheme has been created at Cobnor Point in Chichester Harbour. The scheme will also provide a new home for water voles, a protected species native to Britain’s coast and inland waterways.

ABP Southampton has recently completed the implementation of a managed retreat scheme at Cobnor Point in Chichester Harbour. The scheme offsets the potential impacts of the capital dredge of the main channel to the port – primarily for the larger container vessels in service between Europe and the Far East.

The aim of the Cobnor scheme is to transform an area of pasture land into intertidal habitat. Works comprised breaching the existing sea wall of the 6.5 hectare site in two places to create intertidal mudflat saltmarsh commenced in the summer and a few weeks ago, the sea wall was breached to allow the sea to inundate the site.

 Works to transform the site have comprised the removal of existing scrub and vegetation; improvement of drainage channels; provision of replacement water vole habitat; re-profiling of the site to desired levels; and breaching of existing sea defences. The new habitats created by the managed realignment will be subject to regular monitoring to ensure that they are delivering the targets for habitat areas.

Now we await news on the contract to deepen the approaches to Portsmouth to accommodate the new aircraft carriers. One is forced to wonder if all this dredging could have an effect on tidal streams throughout the Solent.