Estuarine hydrodynamic and coastal process impact assessment

Providing evidence for an EIA and marine licence application for the Cruise Hull Project

The Humber Estuary is one of the most morphologically complex and variable estuaries in the UK with much of the estuary subject to nature conservation designations for its marine and intertidal habitats. The marine licensing regime therefore requires robust evidence of likely effects on the marine environment before consenting marine infrastructure in the estuary.

As one of the UK leaders in marine modelling, ABPmer was commissioned to undertake an estuarine hydrodynamic and coastal process assessment of the Cruise Hull Project to provide the necessary evidence for an Environmental Impact Assessment and marine licence application.

We completed hydrodynamic and sediment plume modelling along with detailed baseline understanding of estuarine hydrodynamics and sediment transport. The models were calibrated using hydrodynamic, water quality and bathymetric surveys undertaken by our in-house survey team.

To provide a robust assessment of effects, it is important that any change is put into context of the natural variability as well as the potential contribution of other operations, activities and developments in the area. This is particularly important around Hull with its constantly changing bathymetry and significant port and marine activity. Without enough knowledge, changes in physical process parameters could be solely attributed to the proposed development, rather than put in the context of the local environment. We therefore place significant emphasis on this baseline understanding and interpretation of model results.

One of the key issues in completing the study was the representation of the highly mobile bathymetry in the models and ensuring that the modelling representations remain valid for use in the subsequent planning and marine licence applications.

Another complexity was assessing and arranging disposal licences for the capital and maintenance dredge. This required recognition of the high level of variability and close liaison with ABP, MMO and others to ensure access to the disposal grounds.