Advertising
 
Posted by: John Brace | 22nd December 2013

Was the recent flooding of New Brighton made worse by man-made dredging of the River Mersey?

Was the recent flooding of New Brighton made worse by man-made dredging of the River Mersey?

                               

Halfway through November after having attended (instead of going to one of the fireworks displays across the Borough) a Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee at Wirral Council on Guy Fawkes’ Night I made a Freedom of Information Act request to Wirral Council for the briefing note that officers promised councillors about the effect of Peel’s dredging of the River Mersey on Wirral’s beaches.

The first reply stated I would have it by the 3rd December, then a further one by the 10th December, then on the 12th December they said they didn’t have one (making me think that was an end to it). On the 20th December I received an email telling me that the briefing note had gone out to councillors the day before. A copy of the briefing note was attached.

As it’s in the form of a Word document file, it doesn’t display in HTML correctly on the whatdotheyknow.com website, so I’ve included the briefing note below.

Briefing note requested by Members of the Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee on 5 November 2013

1 Introduction

At the above meeting Members asked for a briefing note on dredging of the River Mersey and the Liverpool 2 proposals. This information is now provided in the narrative below and by reference to the documents which are available on the Marine Maritime Organisation’s web site. If any further information is required then please do not hesitate to let me know.

2 Dredging and Liverpool 2

In response to formal consultation from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) during September 2012, the Council noted that it’s own Coastal Strategy proposes continued maintenance of coastal protection infrastructure in the New Brighton/Egremont area and went to conclude based on the evidence provided, Wirral Council was satisfied that the proposed development will align satisfactorily with its terrestrial and marine plans and projects (see page 45 at: http://www.marinemanagement.org.uk/licensing/public_register/cases/documents/liverpool2/consultation_responses.pdf). The application to the MMO was approved on 12 December 2012.  

Consequently, the Council has not raised any objection to the arrangements for dealing with the dredging that would arise from the Liverpool 2 project, which have been subject to environmental assessment (see pages 3 and 8 at: http://www.eib.europa.eu/attachments/pipeline/20120101_nts_en.pdf) .

David Ball

Head of Regeneration and Planning

19 December 2013

The first document linked to explains that in order to make the channel deep enough for “post-Panamax container vessels” that the depth of the channel will be increased from 6.9m to 8.0m to “enlarge the tidal window through which vessels will be able to access the quay” and the dredging was expected to “commence in late 2013” lasting six to nine months.

The dredging is being done using the rather wonderfully named “trailer suction hopper dredgers, cutter suction dredgers and backhoes”. Wirral Council’s response to the consultation on this is below.

Wirral Borough Council (WBC)
Further to your email, the following sets out the position in relation to the three questions in your email;

How does the development impact on existing infrastructure within Wirral Borough?
ANSWER The consultation material submitted with the MMO Licence application draws heavily on the Environmental Statement submitted with the original Harbour Revision Order application and Wirral Council is satisfied that the information provided, and subsequent discussions with Peel Ports/Royal Haskoning on the placement of monitoring equipment, give sufficient comfort to Wirral that the works to be consented under this licence application will have no detrimental impact on existing infrastructure within Wirral Borough.

How does the proposed development align with any existing Wirral Borough Council plans or projects
ANSWER There are no terrestrial projects that would be adversely impacted by the proposed development. The Council is supportive of the principle of the Seaforth Dock expansion given the strategic importance of the Port of Liverpool for Merseyside and the North West and the need to secure it’s long term competitive position in the face of competition from ports elsewhere in the UK and Europe and support objectives. Wirral Council is preparing a Core Strategy for the Borough and no proposals within the Core Strategy will be adversely impacted by the proposed development. The Strategic importance of the port is also recognised within the Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West. The Council is also consulting on a Coastal Strategy that proposes continued maintenance of coastal protection infrastructure in the New Brighton/Egremont area. From the evidence provided and the monitoring strategy proposed, Wirral Council is satisfied that the proposed development will align satisfactorily with its terrestrial and marine plans and projects.
The reports to the Council’s Cabinet/Select Committee previously emailed to you provide further context and detail, if required.

Any other comments on the proposed development
ANSWER Whilst not constituting an objection to the MMO Licence application, Neil Thomas’ email of 2nd November referred to the fact that Wirral Council is not satisfied with the initially proposed location of wave and current monitoring equipment. However, the Council is in discussion with Peel Ports/Royal Haskoning with regard to re-locating monitoring equipment closer to the coastal defences at New Brighton, within the Mersey Estuary, with the intention of providing a more effective means of monitoring the impact of the development on Wirral’s coastal defences and navigation within the Mersey Estuary.

What’s interesting in Wirral Council’s response to the consultation is that they state both “that the works to be consented under this licence application will have no detrimental impact on existing infrastructure within Wirral Borough” but also “the Council is in discussion with Peel Ports/Royal Haskoning with regard to re-locating monitoring equipment closer to the coastal defences at New Brighton, within the Mersey Estuary, with the intention of providing a more effective means of monitoring the impact of the development on Wirral’s coastal defences”.

So what does the environmental report state about the likely impact of this dredging on New Brighton? On page 16 it clearly states “The proposed scheme is predicted to have a minor adverse impact on tides and waves at New Brighton, MHDC have agreed to place a wave/current meter to monitor any changes in parameters which could affect this frontage. This measure forms part of a Deed of Agreement between MDHC and Natural England.”

All this of course leads to a number of questions (and I hope someone who knows more about this topic will leave a comment in answer to them).

1. Considering the above, was the recent flooding at New Brighton made worse by this dredging considering the “minor adverse impact on tides and waves at New Brighton” in the environmental report?

2. Why when the environmental report was available at the time of the consultation, did Wirral Council state in its response to the consultation “Wirral Council is satisfied that the information provided, and subsequent discussions with Peel Ports/Royal Haskoning on the placement of monitoring equipment, give sufficient comfort to Wirral that the works to be consented under this licence application will have no detrimental impact on existing infrastructure within Wirral Borough.” and that considering what Wirral Council knew about the vulnerability of Marine Point to flooding that “There are no terrestrial projects that would be adversely impacted by the proposed development.”?

3. Was the recent flooding of New Brighton made worse by man-made dredging of the River Mersey?

4. Which reports to Wirral Council’s Cabinet and committees were “previously emailed”?

5. Was the above known when planning consent was given for Marine Point and did the design of Marine Point take the above into account when considering flood risk?

If you click on any of these buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people. Thanks:


Categories