Embankment solution saves gardens without disrupting wildlife

For residents above this site, a retaining wall has saved their gardens, hedges and summerhouses, while the local badgers have settled into their new home.

The embankment’s imminent collapse was threatening to bury two liquid oxygen storage tanks and the hospital’s works building. 

We identified two key factors to the underlying instability of the slope:

  • Additional loading at the top of the slope caused by neighbouring garden walls, summerhouses, patios and vegetation
  • The earthmoving effects of badgers - this factor was presumed to be the trigger for the slope’s imminent collapse.

The work involved excavating the unstable slope materials and removing them from the site, leaving only the stable sandstone below the weathered mantle. To overcome the retention challenge, the Opus team proposed a king-post retaining wall along the top edge of the slope to retain the residential properties above.

On the advice of the wildlife consultant, a licence from wildlife service Natural England allowed us to move the badgers during their breeding season. Once they were safely moved to an artificial badger set a short distance to the east of the site, their tunnels were grouted up to maintain the internal stability of the slope.

The retaining wall and new slope have proven to be a successful, risk averse, low maintenance solution. For residents above the site, the retaining wall has enabled their gardens, hedges and summerhouses to be retained on stable ground.

As for the badgers, they’ve settled into their new home and have plenty of earth available for further and safer excavations.