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  • Writer's pictureTallulah

The importance of Nicospan bank protection

Within the world of waterway infrastructure, bank protection plays a critical role in preserving the integrity and functionality of canals, rivers, and lakes across the UK. One of the most innovative and effective methods used for bank protection is Nicospan, which is the focus of this blog post.


In our latest article, our team will shed light on the significance of Nicospan in safeguarding our waterway banks and its importance in ensuring sustainable and resilient aquatic ecosystems. We will explore what Nicospan is, why bank protection is crucial, the difference between soft banks and hard banks when using Nicospan, and how our contracting services can help implement Nicospan bank protection effectively.

What is Nicospan?

Nicospan is a geotextile material that is specifically designed for bank protection in smaller watercourses or waterways with less traffic. It is manufactured using a combination of natural and synthetic fibres that are woven into a strong and durable fabric, which benefits from excellent resistance to erosion whilst also providing a reliable barrier against the forces of water flow and wave action.

Nicospan is permeable, allowing water to pass through while simultaneously preventing soil loss and this flexibility makes it an ideal choice for bank protection projects, as it can conform to the natural contours of the bank and adapt to changing water levels. These adaptive properties make Nicospan an environmentally friendly option that promotes the growth of vegetation while providing robust stabilisation to canals, rivers, lakes, and ponds.

Our team often combine Nicospan with coir rolls, as the open pocket structure encourages vegetation to grow to create excellent habitats. In fact, many of our customers often benefit from our sensitive approach to backfilling and seeding, which encourages the original bank to reestablish and flourish, providing excellent benefits to ecologically sensitive sites.


Why is bank protection important?

The extreme weather changes we are experiencing due to global warming have made it more important than ever to protect canal and riverbanks, lakesides, and embankments, especially with issues such as flash flooding impacting structural stability and erosion. The following are just some of the reasons why our team always work hard to maintain the integrity of these important structures:


1. Erosion prevention

Unprotected canal banks are susceptible to erosion caused by water flow and wave action. This erosion leads to the loss of valuable soil and threatens the structural integrity of the canal.

2. Infrastructure protection

Many waterways are located near adjacent infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and buildings, and proper bank protection will ensure the safety and longevity of these assets.

3. Environmental conservation

Canal banks and rivers are home to diverse plant and animal species and protecting the banks helps to preserve these habitats, whilst also promoting biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem.

4. Flooding mitigation

Bank protection reduces the risk of flooding by preventing excessive sediment accumulation and maintaining the waterway's capacity to carry water.


What is the difference between soft and hard bank protection?

Soft banks are natural or man-made earthen slopes along waterways. They are susceptible to erosion, especially during heavy rainfall or increased water flow and without proper protection, soft banks can gradually erode, leading to the loss of valuable land and potential damage to adjacent infrastructure. Nicospan is one of the best solutions for soft bank protection, as it stabilises the soil, reduces erosion, and prevents sediment runoff into the water.

Hard banks, on the other hand, are typically constructed from concrete or other hard materials to resist erosion. While effective, hard banks can still face challenges such as scouring and water turbulence, which can undermine their stability over time. By using Nicospan in combination with hard banks, the overall protection is enhanced. Nicospan acts as a flexible and adaptable reinforcement, providing additional support against erosion and protecting the base of the hard bank from undermining.


When should Nicospan be used?

There are many applications for Nicospan when protecting against the above issues, with this durable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly material used to improve the stability and structure of everything from canal and riverbanks to lakesides and pond embankments. Although there are a variety of bank protection techniques available, Nicospan is the ideal option within the following scenarios:

1. Sites prone to erosion

Locations with a history of erosion or frequent water flow should be prioritised for Nicospan protection to prevent further degradation.

2. New waterway construction


Incorporating Nicospan during the initial construction phase ensures that the waterway banks are adequately protected from the start.

3. Aging infrastructure

If the existing bank protection is showing signs of wear and vulnerability, implementing Nicospan can reinforce the banks and extend their lifespan. The material will also provide a conducive environment for wildlife and vegetation to thrive.

4. Construction projects

Construction projects near water bodies can increase the risk of erosion and sediment runoff. In these situations, Nicospan can be integrated as part of a comprehensive erosion control plan.

5. Flood risk reduction

Areas prone to flooding can benefit from Nicospan bank protection, as it will help maintain the waterway's capacity to handle heavy water flow.


How is Nicospan installed?

At The Rothen Group, we specialise in providing comprehensive solutions for canal bank protection using options such as Nicospan, coir rolls, rock rolls and gabion baskets. Our team will always advise on the best option for both soft and hard banks, and with our experience, state-of-the-art equipment, and expert knowledge we are ideally placed to provide bank protection services across the UK. As you can see from the following steps, we work hard to offer an effective and efficient service:


1. Site assessment


Our team conducts a thorough assessment of the site, analysing the bank's condition, water flow patterns, and environmental factors to design the most suitable Nicospan protection system.


2. Customised design

Based on our assessment, we create a customised Nicospan bank protection plan that ensures optimal stability, erosion resistance, and ecological preservation.


3. Expert installation

Our skilled technicians install the Nicospan with precision, adhering to the highest standards of quality and safety.


4. Ongoing maintenance

We offer maintenance services to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the Nicospan protection system, including periodic inspections and repairs if necessary.


The Rothen Group – Nicospan bank protection services

Our team understand that each site is unique, and our experts are committed to designing and implementing customised Nicospan protection plans to address the specific challenges and objectives of every site. We have vast experience in waterway infrastructure projects throughout the UK, and through our quality materials, machinery, expertise, and eco-friendly approach we are proud to offer popular solutions for every bank protection project.


To find out more about how Nicospan bank protection can be used to safeguard the integrity and ecological balance of waterways, please contact our team today. We can discuss in detail the process from assessment through to installation, and we always offer a cost-effective service.

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