Rising Risks: The Critical Need for Scour Protection in UK Bridges

Rising Risks: The Critical Need for Scour Protection in UK Bridges

June 2023

Did you know that from 1846 to 2013 there were 140 scour-related bridge failures in the UK?

Scour, the removal of sediment such as sand and rocks from around bridge abutments or piers, has long been a silent but deadly threat to the UK’s infrastructure. Historical data reveals a staggering 140 scour-related bridge failures over a period of 167 years.

Climate Change and Future Risks

The threat is intensifying due to climate change. Projections indicate that by 2080, 1 in 20 UK bridges will be at high risk of failure. This sobering statistic underscores the urgent need for enhanced scour protection measures. The increasing frequency and intensity of storms, coupled with rising water levels, are exacerbating the risks associated with scour, making it a critical issue for the future safety and functionality of the nation’s bridges.

Recent Failures Highlight the Urgency

The year 2020 served as a stark reminder of the devastation scour can cause, with 10 full and 30 partial collapses of the UK’s local road bridges. These failures not only disrupt daily life but also pose significant dangers to public safety and incur substantial economic costs for repairs and replacements.

Kaymac: Leading the Charge in Scour Protection

Kaymac, a leader in bridge maintenance and restoration, is at the forefront of addressing these challenges. Working in collaboration with corporate partners, Government departments, and private individuals, Kaymac is dedicated to finding the best ways to maintain and restore these critical assets.

The work required to protect and repair bridges from scour damage is often complex and takes place in challenging and hard-to-reach locations. To tackle these difficulties, Kaymac has developed an impressive range of equipment and techniques that allow access to areas others can’t reach. Whether working from pontoons on the water or employing their unique, innovative temporary works solutions, Kaymac ensures that even the most inaccessible bridge parts can be effectively maintained and restored.

Innovative Solutions for a Safer Future

Kaymac’s commitment to innovation in scour protection is vital for safeguarding the UK’s bridges against the increasing threats posed by climate change. By leveraging advanced techniques and cutting-edge equipment, we enhance the durability and safety of bridges and extend their operational lifespan, ensuring they remain robust and reliable for future generations.


The historical data and recent incidents of scour-related bridge failures highlight the critical need for enhanced protection measures. As climate change continues to elevate the risks, it is imperative that proactive steps are taken to safeguard these essential structures. Companies like Kaymac are leading the way, providing innovative and effective solutions to ensure the continued safety and reliability of the UK’s bridge network.