River Hull Wreck Removal

Reducing flood risk, improving the environment, boosting tourism and supporting historic business areas are sometimes one project.

Pell Frischmann’s River Hull Integrated Catchment Study highlighted the significant risk that wrecks in the river caused for local flooding. As a result, we were asked to devise a programme to facilitate wreck removal.

To ensure permission and funding, Pell Frischmann needed to supply evidence verifying that the sunken boats were a flood risk. To obtain proof, a comprehensive model study was completed to discover the benefits gained from removing the boats. This included examining how many residential and commercial properties could be removed from the flood area, the benefits of the space created with reduced flood risk, and a cost analysis to calculate how much we would save the local economy by reducing flood damage.

The model evidence demonstrated the value of the project and granted the Environment Agency’s (EA) power to serve notice on sunken vessels causing a flood risk in a main river. The model results also allowed the cost-benefit analysis to justify funding from the Local Economic Partnership’s Humber Local Growth Fund. This funding application also reflected on the tourism to be gained from improving the amenity, navigation, habitat, and local business. For this reason, the project expanded from a flood risk project to a scheme that looks to also improve the surrounding area of River Hull. However, there was now a need to acquire environmental permits and licences from organisations such as the Marine Management Organisation, the EA and Natural England, to carry out the works in the river.

With the River Hull Board setting the mandatory completion date as the end of September 2017, due to the migration of lamprey over winter, the pressure to secure permits quickly further increased. There was a need to ensure that all environmental and statutory constraints, such as the Environmental Permit, European Protected Species Licence and Water Framework Directive (WFD) assessment, were approved on time to allow contractors to remove all the boats on schedule. To guarantee this, we designed and effectively adhered to a tight programme. Furthermore, to make sure all deadlines were met, meetings were held to include all stakeholders to encourage the efficient flow of communication from all perspectives.

A habitat survey undertaken as part of the investigations found otters present in one of the boats. This led to the need for monitoring to determine the otters’ exact use of the boats. As the site was identified as a resting place and not a natal holt, obtaining a licence to remove the boat and providing an alternative habitat was simpler. A method statement for the boat removal was required for licence applications to ensure that the local wildlife would not be disturbed. Early contractor engagement highlighted that boats would be removed in-channel and transported to a single crane located at an industrial area, via a moving pontoon, therefore minimising disturbance to the river banks. A fish mitigation strategy was also created in liaison with the EA’s fisheries expert, the catchment coordinator and the client. This was required to satisfy the WFD objectives and the environmental permit. Trial refuge structures and a floating island were installed in the channel to create slack and sheltered water, ideal for fish fry.

The Boat removal project represents a massive improvement in channel navigation for larger vessels, and the aesthetics of the area. Pell Frischmann have assisted the completion of this project, within the required timescales, to help the local wildlife and ecology, bringing in tourism which will improve local businesses within the area. The project had primarily improved river flow and reduced the area at risk of fluvial flooding within the Hull catchment.

Species to consider

  • icon-arrow Fish, including River Lampreys
  • icon-arrow Otters
  • icon-arrow Water voles

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