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Our Approved Installer Tony Benger wins a Landscaping Restoration and Regeneration Scheme Award for their recent project: Lyme Regis Environmental Improvements Phase IV.

This project took place on the Jurassic Coast cliffs of this World Heritage Site depicting 185 million years of the earth’s history.  

Also a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) with the coastal erosion forming unique habitats for flora and fauna, it was a huge balancing act between the protection of property and nature conservation.  

480 properties, the main road into the town of Lyme Regis and major utility pipes and cables needed to be protected from coastal erosion. Land had been lost to the sea at the rate of 300 feet in the last 300 year period.  

In 2003 a major slip left Church Cliff Flats only 75 feet from the receding cliff face. The house owner stated ‘‘we used to go to bed with our life jackets on and even started to inflate them, my garden shed became a beach hut overnight’’. On completion of the works this resident kindly hung a large banner for all to see.

It simply said ‘THANK YOU’ and reflected the gratitude of the residents to all who had worked on the project.

The project involved:

  •        Sensitive timely clearance of all vegetation to allow engineering works
  •        Reestablishment of valuable woodland and grassland scrub habitats
  •        Management of active landslide habitat
  •        The creation of an access path and viewing area across the cliff acting as a link between the main car park, sea wall and town
  •        Building a new sea wall including steel steps, piling, nailing and netting
  •        Reinstatement of 14 gardens demolished by erosion and engineering works
  •        Re-establishment of 17 allotments  

The work was made all the more challenging by the extreme gradient of the site. Much of the work had to be done using rope access so our staff had to be IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) trained.

Japanese knotweed caused further operational constraints and even the bramble had to be removed from site, propagated in our nursery and returned to site on completion, due to ecological considerations.  

The engineering works of piling, nailing and netting posed further challenges as we tried to build structures on top of this and reinstate gardens.  

Prior to the installation of the soil retaining net we had to create planting pockets with compost and GPS mark each and every one. Later once the net was in place we were able to relocate the holes and plant through it to re-establish vegetation. Much of the 1600 tonnes of imported topsoil was laid over the net and on considerable slopes without causing any damage to the mesh.  

Fencing also had to be designed and erected as boundaries to gardens, with the same constraints.  

We worked very closely with the main contractor and the client (the District Council) and more than met their expectations by adapting to the constantly change in design and build landscape elements that had not been used in these circumstances before.  

We had to work very closely with each one of the owners of the rebuilt gardens and reinstated allotments to deliver projects which they were all delighted with.  

Approved Installer: Tony Benger Landscaping