CAN Geotechnical successfully completes cliff stabilisation

July 19, 2021

Geotechnical engineering specialist CAN Geotechnical Ltd (an RSK company) has spent eight months on a programme of slope stabilisation and improvement work in Canford Cliffs, Poole, UK, and has recently completed the project on schedule.

A programme of investment in new seafront infrastructure and beach huts at Canford Cliffs, originally due to start in 2017, was delayed due to an active landslip below Cliff Drive that same year. A section of cliff approximately 10 m wide × 0.5 m deep slipped and there was concern that further slippage could occur and reach the promenade below, especially in the event of bad weather. In the interests of safety, three blocks of beach huts and a short stretch of footpath were temporarily closed. Following an extensive period of planning and monitoring, CAN Geotechnical was appointed to deliver a £2.5 million cliff stabilisation scheme that commenced in September 2020 and was successfully completed on schedule in May 2021.

Over 1600 soil nails (up to 15 m in length) were used to stabilise approximately 5500 m² of cliff. Long reach excavator-mounted drilling systems were used, working from the top of the cliff and from the promenade below. Specialist drilling rigs were then suspended from an anchor system at the top of the embankment to undertake the drilling across the mid-slope.

A facing system of erosion control matting overlaid with steel netting was installed and secured with the soil nails to help stabilise the ground; the cliff face was then hydroseeded to support native vegetation and wildlife habitat regrowth.

The project took place in a popular tourist and residential area and it was important for CAN to ensure the work fitted within the site footprint, with the measures employed to reduce disruption ranging from minimising the visual impact of the work to controlling the noise and vibration throughout the area. A programme of community briefings and engagement events was undertaken for residents. The client (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council) is now finishing off the surfacing of the road and working on the beach hut reinstatement.

In May, CAN Geotechnical completed a clear-up operation to demobilise from the promenade and Cliff Drive. The worksite fence and welfare services were removed promptly and the team was completely off site on schedule.

For details about CAN’s recent projects, or any of the company’s products and services, visit the company’s website at or call +44 (0)1474 538100.