Downshire to Whitehead Sea Defences Boneybefore to Edenhalt (section 3)

CEEQUAL Good – Whole Project Award
Version 3, Oct 2009 | Belfast, Northern Ireland

Client: Translink – Northern Ireland Railways
Designer: Doran Consulting Ltd
Contractor: Lagan Construction

Assessor: Dion Williams

Project Summary

The project involved essential maintenance of sea defences between Boneybefore Sewage Treatment Works and Eden Halt at Carrickfergus on the Belfast to Larne Railway line. Works included the construction of a reinforced concrete wave-wall apron and toe-wall beam along the full length of the section (369m).

The reinforced concrete apron and toe were keyed into the existing stone revetments. The works were completed as an emergency as the existing sea defences were deemed to be in poor repair after recent winter storms.


Environmental considerations

This section of railway line runs along the western boundary of Belfast Lough – a Special Protection Area (SPA) under Article 4.2 of EC Directive 79/409 on the Conservation of Wild Birds and a Natura 2000 site. The SPA encompasses most of the Inner and all of Outer Belfast Lough ASSI.

The 228.57ha site is made up of a range of inter-tidal habitats including extensive mudflats, mussel beds, boulder shores and rock platforms, which regularly support internationally important populations of overwintering birds such as Redshank (Tringa tetanus), and Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus).

The site further supports nationally significant populations of Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) with a population of over 1,500 birds. The area is also noted for its physical diversity and the richness and naturalness of its plant and animal communities.

An Appropriate Assessment was completed under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) Regulations (NI) 1995, to assess the likely impact of the proposed essential maintenance on the Natura 2000 site.