Prevention better than cure
Aggregate Industries say pre-emptive planning is the key to successful flood defence
AS the UK braces for another winter of erratic weather that could once again see torrential storms batter Britain’s coastlines and flood communities, Aggregate Industries are highlighting the need for early intervention when planning defence measures, reminding contractors and local authorities that ‘prevention is better than cure’.
With some 5 million properties across the country – around one in six – currently at risk of flooding, sea and flood defence remains one of the most pressing issues facing the nation.
Recent years have seen Britain suffer a number of extreme flood events in areas such as Somerset, Cumbria and Yorkshire, bringing misery to the lives of thousands and seriously disrupting businesses and local infrastructure.
And this year looks to be no different, with the latest forecasts from the Met Office warning of the likelihood of heavy rainfall hitting the UK in the coming months.
As a result, protecting British homes, businesses and infrastructure across the country from the devastating impact of flooding is a key issue facing the Government and local authorities.
Richard Naylor, commercial manager at Aggregate Industries, said: ‘The Great British weather has become more erratic in recent years, with torrential storms and heavy rain frequently causing widespread flooding and misery – and the reality, unfortunately, is that it is likely to get worse.
‘As such, it really is vital that authorities take a pre-emptive approach by acting now and reviewing their flood-defence strategies early on, making any adjustments or improvements that may be necessary.
‘Not only is this vital to potentially save lives and reduce the impact as much as possible, but it can work out more economical in the long run – after all, it’s far cheaper to prevent flood damages than rectify them.’
Core to this approach is leveraging the latest construction materials solutions available to aid coastal- and flood-defence measures – such as the clever use of aggregates, including natural rock armour, rip-rap and gabion, which are widely specified by the Environment Agency and consulting engineers for river revetment and diversion contracts.
Mr Naylor continued: ‘Historically, natural stone, such as rock armour, has been used to reinforce riverbanks against the threat of flooding. Key to the success of this strategy is to ensure that, instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, the right specification and size of rock is used and, more importantly, available before, during and after any extreme weather events.
‘At Aggregate Industries, we work with specialist design consultants to help tailor rock armour specifically to meet the challenges of different regions and floodplains. We also ensure that this material is available at a moment’s notice from several quarries across the country, so that effective flood defences can be installed when necessary.’