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Thames riverbank refurbishment

One of the latest MCP projects involved the unique nature of undertaking the removal of vegetation from the riverbank wall along the Thames in order to assess the condition of the structure. Anyone contemplating works in any watercourse must consider the impact that such works may have, either directly or indirectly, to any other river users.

Riverbank RefurbishmentDue to the complex logistics of the site the proposed works were carried out using specialist rope access technicians during periods of low tidal activity. Using small hand tools, such as saws, pruning shears and wire brushes the team of operatives worked their way along the riverbank wall carrying out minor cutting back of trees and shrubs, cutting back plants, whilst removing all vegetation, moss and algae. In addition, ‘bulk bags’ were suspended on ropes and used to collect any cleared debris prior to be hauled up and removed from site. A specific focus was adopted to prioritise any wildlife within close proximity to the works. As a result, the works were undertaken with particular care and no herbicides were used on the wall.

All works were undertaken by IRATA trained specialists and carried out to comply with current IRATA guidelines. The operatives assessed the main rigging points and installed two Petzl Couer stainless steel temporary anchor bolts at either end of the wall. Following this, ropes were set up to provide safe access to the working areas.

Port of London approval

To undertake maintenance work within this central location along the River Thames, permission and various certifications were required from the Port of London Authority and the Environmental Agency. Further information was submitted to the Civil Engineering Department explaining the method in which the rigging and anchoring would be installed to guarantee no damage was caused and all project team members were working within a safe environment. Once the above was in hand, licences were issued so works could commence.

The project begun in February and was completed within three weeks. However, a week into the contract, London was hit by the ‘beast from the east’ with amber weather warnings issued across the capital. The Riverbank Wall project continued throughout the adverse weather conditions and was delivered two weeks early, coming in under budget.