Bird Island construction – expansion of Port 2000 Le Havre


Location: Le Havre, France
Date: 2001 – 2006 (construction bird island 2004 – 2005)
Involved parties: Port Autonome du Havre (initiator), Boskalis, Dredging International, Atlantic Dragage
Technology Readiness Level:  5 – technology validated in relevant environment
Environment: Lakes, Ports
Keywords: port expansion, environmental compensation, estuary development, impact mitigation, island reclamation, bird habitat, added environmental value.

Building with Nature design

In the case of Port 2000 Le Havre, not only the economical and functional requirements, but also environmental issues were taken into account. The construction was executed in phases to minimize the ecological effects on the estuary. Compensation measures were taken to mitigate environmental effects or even enhance the ecosystem.

Traditional design

The expansion of a harbour is mainly based on economical issues. The design and construction methods are shaped by functional requirements and cost limitation only.

Le Havre is the tenth largest container port in Europe. To increase the container handling capacity, a large harbour expansion was planned. The Seine estuary has a high ecolgoical value. One of the challenges of the expansion was to compensate for the loss of nature, or even to increase natural values. As part of the environmental compensation, a dedicated bird island was created on top of an existing sandbank.