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Dover's cliffs get safety treatment

Weeks recently completed a £400,000 hazard reduction project along the 1.2km length of Upper Chalk cliffs which forms the northern boundary of the Dover Eastern Docks.

The scheme, which Weeks was commissioned to design and supervise in 1997, comprised scaling of the cliffs to remove loose chalk, followed by rock bolting to stabilize specific hazardous areas, installation of rock fall protection mesh, installation of more than 500m of rock catch fences and debris traps, and removal of large slabs using explosives.

Both the cliff face itself and the former railway terrace, where most of the abseiling anchorages were installed, are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Precautions to minimise disruption and satisfy English Nature's requirements were successfully implemented.

Only companies specialising in geotechnical works using rope access techniques were invited to pre-qualify. Weeks' specification for the project required all the contractor's operatives working on the cliff face to hold training certificates issued by Industrial Rope Access Trade Association , and the site works were carried out by CAN under the supervision of Weeks' IRATA qualified engineering geologists.

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