Eel project shortlisted biodiversity award!

3 August 2017
Claire Hector

Great news!

We’re delighted to announce that our recent partnership project with clients Island Roads at the Holbrooke’s Stream culvert in West Wight has seen the Island’s Highways PFI shortlisted for a national biodiversity award.

The CIRIA Biodiversity Challenge encourages construction industry innovation and best practice for biodiversity across a range of categories. The Holbrooke’s Eelevator project brought Island Roads, the Environment Agency, Arc and Artecology Ltd together for this exciting R&D experiment aimed at easing eel passage on a newly upgraded watercourse.  The resulting project is up for the Client category award in this year’s Challenge.

The rationale for the project was a need for ecological mitigation (via EA licencing) following essential repairs to the A3054 road culvert at Holbrookes in West Wight.  Island Roads engineers worked with EA licencing and biodiversity/fisheries teams and the ecologists at Arc Consulting to devise an enhancement scheme that could solve both new and existing fish passage obstacles as well as creating new small-scale in-channel freshwater habitat on this otherwise sterile concrete channel.

Artecology was commissioned by Island Roads to design a solution that would meet licencing requirements and biological enhancement objectives… the Artecology Eelevator with Heart & Dart tiles was born!  The eel pass is being monitored by Island Roads, the EA and Artecology for its first eels but early signs are promising; sticklebacks spotted prospecting at the ramp and Gammarus shrimp populating the tiles.

Jo Huett, Island Roads structures project manager, who has led on the project with enthusiasm all the way, says: “We were delighted to work closely with the EA, Arc and Artecology because nature conservation is important to Island Roads. To complete a project that met our responsibilities under the Highways PFI contract whilst also delivering the additional benefit of assisting local wildlife was worthwhile in itself, but being nominated for this award is the icing on the cake.”

The award winners will be announced in London on 14th September 2017 but all for us, the real winners we hope will be eels of course!

You can read the full project entry on the CIRIA Biodiversity Challenge website here: