An innovative flood defence project in Sussex has won the prestigious Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award that celebrates all round excellence in construction.
Opened in November 2013, the Medmerry flood defence project includes 4 miles of new sea walls to reduce flood risk for hundreds of local properties. The lifesaving defences held firm during last year’s floods and is seen as a gold standard of flood defence in the UK.
The project was led by the Environment Agency. It created a new wetland for local wildlife with 183 hectares of intertidal habitat. Much of the site is now managed by the RSPB as a nature reserve. This new form of defence has helped to save £300,000 taxpayers’ money each year, the cost of repairing the shingle bank. It also supports local economic growth by allowing businesses to operate year round.
View a short film about Medmerry.
Haven for wildlife
Dr Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency said:
This award recognises the excellent work of our dedicated staff and contractors in protecting people and property through delivering innovative and effective flood risk management schemes. The Medmerry managed realignment scheme protects 348 homes, important infrastructure that serves over 5,000 households and creates an intertidal habitat at the same time that will boost tourism in the area.
The award was presented at the British Construction Industry Awards ceremony in Park Lane, London. It recognises projects that are completed on time, on budget and bring real change to the community. Previous award winners include the Tate Modern and the Velodrome at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The British Construction Industry Awards recognise all-round excellence in construction, including the overall design, and delivery of buildings and civil engineering projects. The Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award is the pinnacle of this awards ceremony. Nominees were assessed on a range of standards including economic and social value.
The shortlist includes a college building that is engineered to be one of the quietest buildings in the country, and a building that will almost entirely be powered by fish oil. Together, the 26 projects shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s award have employed nearly 100 apprentices.
- M62 J25-30 Smart Motorway, Highways Agency
- Crossrail C411 Bond Street Station
- Brent Civic Centre, Brent Council
- British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre
- London Aquatics Centre, London Legacy Development Corporation
- New Mathematical Institute, Oxford University
- The Library of Birmingham, Birmingham City Council
- The Pirbright Institute DP1 Project
- A244 Walton Bridge Project, Surrey County Council
- East Croydon Station Footbridge, Network Rail
- Medmerry Managed Realignment, Environment Agency
- Reading Train Care Depot Implementation Works, Toufic Machnouk
- Erwood Bridge Refurbishment, Powys County Council
- Godmanchester Flood Risk Management Scheme, Environment Agency
- Hooley Cutting Stabilisation, Network Rail
- Living Planet Centre, WWF-UK Headquarters
- Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University
- Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford
- Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge
- Haymarket Station Redevelopment, Network Rail
- The Bridge, Scottish Water
- Wiltshire County Hall, Wiltshire Council
- Building 57 (the Julian Study Centre), University of East Anglia
- Creative Arts Building, City College Norwich
- Neuromuscular Complex Care Centre, UCLH Charity
- Ortus, Maudsley Charity
The 26 nominees demonstrated standards set out in the Government Construction Strategy, which commits the government to complete innovative efficient projects and make cost savings for the taxpayer of 15 to 20% by the end of this Parliament.
The government is on course to meet this target and has saved taxpayers £840 million from government construction last year alone, compared to a 2009 to 2010 baseline.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General said:
The buildings shortlisted for the Better Public Building Award are exceptional examples of British construction projects. From the first spade in the ground, these buildings helped set new standards in construction but will also give something valuable back to their communities. As part of our long-term economic plan this government will support the construction industry to ensure these high standards are replicated nationwide so we have the schools, hospitals and other infrastructure Britain needs to compete internationally.