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Blue Anchor coastal defence work to begin in spring

22 December 2022 : Council news, Environment

Work on the permanent Blue Anchor coastal defence scheme will begin in spring 2023.

Somerset West and Taunton Council carried out emergency works to stabilise the wall and reduce the risk of collapse in 2020.

The permanent scheme which will provide support to the walls and mudstone cliff to protect the B3191 coast road, can begin after SWT secured a vessel to deliver the rock armour.

It will travel to Glensanda Quarry in Western Scotland in April 2023 to collect 4,500 tonnes of granite rock armour to be delivered to Blue Anchor.

The vessel will anchor offshore and transfer the rock to a smaller barge which will deposit the rock on the beach at high tide using a vessel mounted excavator.

Once complete the vessel will return to Glensanda and repeat the process until all 13,500 tonnes are delivered.

It is expected that delivery will take up to 32 days to complete depending on weather and tides, and work to place the rock will begin as soon as possible after it has been landed.

Following placement of the rock, works will begin to reprofile the crumbling mudstone cliffs to reduce the risk of further slippage.

The project is being delivered by SWT as the Coastal Protection Authority and funded by Somerset County Council as Highways Authority with Kier as the main contractor.

Cllr Andy Sully, Executive Member for Environment Services at SWT, said “I am absolutely delighted that we have at last been able to secure the necessary vessels to complete the coastal protection works at Blue Anchor.

“This project is both large scale and complex and has been a long time in the planning but we now have a date when we can start work to protect the B3191 which is so important in connecting the communities on the Somerset coast.”

Cllr Mike Rigby, Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Digital, said: “Arranging the vessel has been quite a complex and lengthy logistical operation and I’m pleased we now have a firm date for its arrival.

“This another example of great partnership work delivering vital infrastructure protection in Somerset. My thanks to the team for organising what has been a really difficult project.”