A £260,000 Environment Agency contract to supply stone from Hanson UK’s Whatley quarry in the Mendips to Minehead in Somerset has scored a double sustainability hit.
Rock armour stone is being used to repair coastal defences and prevent flooding of nearby businesses and properties – and it is all being delivered from Whatley by rail, saving hundreds of lorry journeys.
The Minehead flood defence contract is the largest to be let to date under the Environment Agency’s national framework agreement with Hanson UK for the supply and delivery of aggregates, which was secured in 2009.
The framework is predominantly for maintaining assets such as main river systems and flood defences and aims to improve sustainability by increasing the use of recycled and secondary materials and minimising transport impacts.
At Warren Point, Minehead, the EA is building a 130 metre section of rock armour to keep the shingle in place and dissipate some of the wave energy to reduce the risk of flooding to local homes and businesses.
Around 7,000 tonnes of stone – in blocks ranging from one tonne to nearly six tonnes – is being used in the emergency repair scheme. Seventeen train loads, each carrying around 420 tonnes, will make the 82 mile journey from Whatley between November and January 2011.
The train services, which are planned and managed by Mendip Rail, a joint venture between Hanson and Aggregate Industries, join the heritage West Somerset Railway for the final 22 miles of the journey to Minehead.
Hanson UK major contracts manager Sean Hunter said: "This contract shows that we have the expertise and resources to provide a top class aggregate delivery solution to coastal projects.
"As well as using locally sourced materials, transporting them via the West Somerset Railway adds to the overall sustainability of the project."