Contractors from Great Oaks Tree Services will be working over the next few weeks to clear and clean the coastal defences with the use of an air spade, keeping the defences fir for purpose and pleasant to look at as the second anniversary of their unveiling at the site between Lytham and St Annes looms.
The £21.8m hard sea defences were completed in July 2020 and protect properties in the area from flooding and coastal erosion.
The pre-cast concrete steps are set with gaps known as expansion joints between each section, to allow for the concrete to expand and contract as temperatures change without causing structural damage. Over time, those gaps can accumulate sand, sediment, and weeds, which must be annually removed to preserve the integrity of the sea defences.
As the coastal defences are situated on the edge of the ecologically significant Ribble and Alt Estuary, which has several national and international designations, the use of chemicals to remove the weeds has been ruled out, and the works are instead being completed using an air spade.
The powered tool uses a high-speed jet of air to loosen and displace soil, weeds, and other deposits which may compromise the defences, without causing damage to the concrete or introducing potentially harmful chemicals to the habitat.
Coun Roger Small, chairman of Fylde Council’s operational management committee, went along to take a first-hand look at the work being carried out and said: “The coastal defences at Fairhaven are a vital investment for the safety of Fylde residents, and it is important that we keep them in tip-top condition.
"I have been impressed by the work performed by our contractors so far, and the stretch of sea wall already treated is weed-free and looking wonderful.”
The sea defences project between Fairhaven Lake and Church Scar Lytham earned the Institute of Civil Engineers’ Sustainability Award for 2021.
The works programme is anticipated to take approximately three weeks, ensuring the defences are clear and clean for the summer.