Loch Ryan Port Development

CEEQUAL Excellent (75.5%) – Design & Construction Award
Version 4, Nov 2012 | Cairnryan, Scotland

Client: Stena Line
Design: RPS
Construction: McLaughlin & Harvey

Assessor: Gemma Fenn (Fenn Environmental)
Verifier: Lucinda Farrington (VolkerStevin Ltd)

Project Summary

This project was carried out in Loch Ryan in close proximity to Port of Cairnryan, Scotland. McLaughlin & Harvey was the Principal Contractor responsible for ensuring the timely delivery was on time and to budget for Stena Line’s new state of the art port facility. The site itself was located on the eastern side of Loch Ryan adjacent to Old House Point, 10km north of Stranraer.

The project was necessary for Stena Line due to the limitations on the Stranrear port; the need for improved Ropax Vessels and dredging restrictions in the southern part of the Loch due to the oyster farms. Moving the port to the Northern part of the loch not only resulted in a shorter sailing time but the new port also meant that ships no longer had to pass the oyster fisheries in the south of the lough.

Although CEEQUAL was not a requirement within the contract documents McLaughlin & Harvey recognised the benefits of registering the project with the scheme. CEEQUAL is a way in which we could benchmark the environmental design, management and future performance of a project and gauge where we sat within the industry. Receiving an award at ‘Excellent’ level recognises the environmental commitment from all parties (client, designer and contractor) from the initial stages of the project as well as the incorporation of stringent measures during the construction in order to protect the environment.


Challenges faced

Project Management

A score of 96% was achieved in the project Management Section. Given the sensitive location of the project there were various environmental considerations. The designer RPS were on hand to advise and environmental consultants Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was brought in as an external environmental advisor for the client.

The Loch Ryan project was carried out in an environmentally sensitive area, as well as being in close proximity to the only remaining wild commercial native oyster fishery in Scotland, which was designated Shellfish Water under EC Directives. Native or common oysters thrive in shallow coastal waters which are sheltered from waves and strong currents. Loch Ryan is an ideal habitat for oysters and they have been collected here for hundreds of years. In order to maintain environmental best practice we liaised with ERM at an early stage in the contract, to discuss methodologies and sequences to ensure disturbances to local environments were mitigated against.

On-going turbidity monitoring was carried out throughout the dredging activities and monitoring logs provided digitally at the end of each shift to the Section Manager. Dredging was also restricted from June to September during Spat Fall Season.

Site clearance took place between October and March to allow for the breeding birds season. Environmental challenges include construction of an otter run, and translocation of reptiles and reptile habitat creation to compensate for vegetated shingle loss on site.
Materials were reclaimed within the project, notably c175,000m3 of material was used to construct a new site access area and raise the existing levels. The site won material was crushed and re-used as fill material for the make-up of internal roads and hard standing areas which avoided the import of any quarry materials for fill or lean mix concrete by road, thus reducing disruption through the local villages.

In the early stages of the project we had to decontaminate an asbestos land fill site and get approval to build the A77 through this area. Japanese Knotweed was wide spread and had to be treated and buried. But most notably the contractor found 50 small bomb shells stopping the job and closing the road to Glasgow. After the bomb squad had dealt with the situation RPS drafted in an UXO (unexploded ordnance) monitoring for the rest of the works.


The historical section of the assessment achieved a score of 88%. The area was a key location during WWII. In 1943, work began on part of the famous Mulberry Harbour project. This was a plan to create a series of floating harbours which could be towed across the English Channel and used during D-Day and the Normandy landings. This proved to be a major challenge and during the construction of the port an attempt was made to relocate the Mulberry Boats and this was witnessed by the Stranrear Museum. The lift proved to be unsuccessful, however full survey was recorded.

Relations with local community and stakeholders

The project scored 100% in this section. The level of public consultation and the good relationship that Stena Line built with the community was noteworthy. There was a port liaison group set up and the Cairnryan villagers visited the site on a regular basis. A monthly newsletter was sent out to keep the public updated on the progress; this even went to the first minister Alex Salmond. Stena Line fitted houses in close proximity to the site with acoustic double glazed windows to help minimise any disturbance from the site activities.

Community Engagement through our Biodiversity corridor

McLaughlin & Harvey own the old railway that runs along the shore of Loch Ryan from Stranraer out to Old House Point and turned this six mile stretch into a wildlife corridor. The corridor varies in width form 15m in its narrowest point to several hundred metres at its widest. This corridor allowed migration and recolonisation of species such as red squirrels in this area of Scotland. Otter holts and bird boxes were also incorporated into the biodiversity corridor.

In June 2011 McLaughlin & Harvey brought a group of children from Sheuchan Primary in Stranraer to the Biodiversity Corridor to show them certain wildlife and important habitats contained within the corridor. The children were allowed to take a stone to decorate in order to create their own animal. The best decorated stone won a prize of a return trip for four to Belfast. This exercise encouraged the children to think about habitats in which the animals would live and how they would interact with each other.

This project was awarded Biodiversity project of the year 2011 at the Sustainable Ireland Awards and formed part of the submission for the Business and Biodiversity Award from Business in the Community 2013.

Noise reduction through large Diameter Tubular Piling

The installation of rotary bored piles 914mm dia (vertical and raking) 55-65m long, were constructed from a temporary working platform. The first 120m of the jetty were constructed from a bund using rotary bored techniques. This method was chosen in preference to normal marine percussive piling installations (e.g. in order to reduce noise pollution, downtime and minimise disturbance to local aquatic environment).

To what extent did the use of CEEQUAL influence your project?

CEEQUAL helped the project to drive environmental performance leading up to and during construction activities, and then quantitatively gauge the project’s achievement. Participating in the scheme has allowed all three organisations to develop and improve their sustainability approach for future projects.

A successful project requires good communication from the client, designer and principal contractor. Undertaking a full project CEEQUAL Assessment requires a significant amount of time and dedication, this project involved a dedicated environmental officer to drive the CEEQUAL Assessment.

The CEEQUAL project is best completed when driven from conception to completion and when all three parties are involved in the process, with each as eager as the next and with a common target of achieving a high score.

McLaughlin & Harvey felt that this project, on account of the stringent environmental mitigation and planning, would be a successful project to register with CEEQUAL. The CEEQUAL Assessment on the project enhanced record keeping and ensured that environmental issues were always top of the agenda.