Saturday, 29 January 2022

Newlyn Coastal Research & Development Project.


Newlyn Coastal Research & Development Project - FAQs Why isn’t a full rock breakwater improvement scheme being done in Newlyn?

Originally in 2019, we planned to increase the height and length of the rock armour breakwater, using eco- engineered blocks at Newlyn, to provide the community with extra coastal erosion and flood risk protection

from the sea. We created a wave model, explored different types of options and decided on a final breakwater design. Unfortunately, an unforeseen increase in costs, exacerbated by an increase in the costs of building materials has led to this design not being affordable at present.

The funding for this project is based on the government funding mechanism for securing Flood Defence Grant in Aid (FDGiA): FCERM appraisal guidance - GOV.UK (

Please be assured that our long term intent is to still deliver the full breakwater upgrade, but this will involve securing funding from other contributors/ grants, and is dependent on the results of the current research and development project.

We have funding from EU Interreg (under their ‘SARCC’ project, more information here: SARCC -Sustainable And Resilient Coastal Cities) to investigate potential ‘nature-based solutions’, which will demonstrate both environmental improvements (lower carbon consumption, habitat creation, etc) and FCERM (flood and coastal erosion risk management) benefits. Eco-engineered blocks will be placed on and around the existing Newlyn breakwater and improvements to the marine habitat will be assessed following a regular monitoring regime. Our hope from this project is that we can record and share learning, so that ourselves and coastal authorities can use this technology in other projects and locations in the future, including Newlyn.

What is a 'nature-based solution'?

Nature-based solutions involve working with natural processes to deliver flood risk management rather than solely relying on traditional rock and concrete methods. Nature-based solutions can also provide benefits for local ecology, carbon reduction, water quality, recreation, etc. It is a multi-benefit solution, which means we can protect communities from flooding whilst also improving the surrounding environment. For the coast, examples include: beach nourishment, creating space for salt marshes and offshore artificial reefs.

I've seen the term 'eco-reef' referred to for this project before, why is it not called this now?

The Environment Agency commissioned wave modelling in Newlyn, which was completed in 2019. This modelling looked at different coastal flood and erosion risk management options for Newlyn. The modelling showed that an upgrade of the existing breakwater would be the most cost-effective option to alleviate this risk. Therefore, the intention has been to do works in this location from the scheme inception. As the project

has downsized due to funding limits and due to the new research objectives of this project, the term 'eco- reef' is no longer appropriate.

Why Newlyn?

The existing breakwater at Newlyn provides an ideal location to implement the eco-blocks. It is also home to a wonderfully diverse rocky shore which we hope to enhance and will allow us to directly investigate if this technology works in this location (and therefore may be able to speed the process of delivering the larger breakwater to benefit Flood & Coastal Erosion Risk Management).

What does the planned work involve, and what are the benefits for Newlyn?

The Research and Development (R&D) project is looking at installing approximately 400 – 500* low-carbon armour units on and around the existing breakwater at Newlyn. The units will be a maximum size of 5T. These units will have been designed not only to function as coastal armour but also to encourage colonisation of their surface by marine life. The R&D works will enable us to monitor the success of this ecological function on a variety of different units. We anticipate the project will provide additional intertidal marine habitat at Newlyn, creating a greener aspect to the existing, traditional rock armour breakwater. The R&D findings at this site will also inform our approach to lowering carbon and building in new habitat to future coastal projects, including a proposed extension to Newlyn breakwater which would offer increased protection from coastal erosion and storm wave overtopping at Jack Lane Bridge. The current R&D project will also feed into the potential works that are being planned for all of Mounts Bay providing foreshore protection and adapting to climate change.

Will this affect flood and erosion risk in Newlyn?

Our project team has investigated the theoretical effects of the block placement in Newlyn. Calculations show that this project will not increase the coastal flood or erosion risk in Newlyn. Also, the works are not expected to provide improved FCERM protection due to the R&D nature of the project. When is the work scheduled, and what is the expected duration of works?

The work is currently due to start in July and continue to September 2022. Ourselves and Kier expect to be on site for approximately 6-8 weeks. Timing of the work has been scheduled during these months due to time-limited funding for the project and delays in the earlier stages of the project due to COVID-19 disruption.

What information will I receive about the works in the future?

Prior to works, we will provide notices, newsletters and are planning a public drop-in event for the community, details of which are currently being finalised before we can advertise it. We will provide information boards prior to starting and throughout the works and will include contact details for anyone wishing to enquire further about the project.


Is this work linked to the proposed Newlyn Harbour development?

No. This project has no link to any development of the Newlyn Harbour.

Will these works affect recreational water activities in Newlyn?

Our intention is to not negatively affect the use of the water for recreational activities. Blocks will be placed within 10m of the existing rock breakwater, with locations of blocks determined by stability calculations. We are interested to hear more about how the area is used for recreation - please let us know using contact details below

Contact details

Have we not answered your question? If you would like further details about the Newlyn Coastal Research & Development Project, please contact Stephen Bentall, the Environment Agency's Project Manager via the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly enquiries team:

Email: Phone: 020847 47914