Work begins to protect coastline

Seaford Beach during a storm. Photo by Ben Ralphs. SUS-151130-161257001
Seaford Beach during a storm. Photo by Ben Ralphs. SUS-151130-161257001

The Environment Agency has started its shingle recycling at Seaford beach this week (Monday, November 30).

The work is expected to take between three to four weeks to complete and will help ensure the sea defence’s continued protection for the future.

Seaford Beach during a storm. Photo by Ben Ralphs.

Seaford Beach during a storm. Photo by Ben Ralphs.

The project is vital - without it, erosion and movement of shingle would leave the sea wall exposed. The River Ouse to Seaford Head Coastal Defence Strategy, completed in 2012, estimates more than 700 residential and 350 commercial properties in Seaford and east Newhaven would eventually be left at an unacceptable risk of flooding if projects such as this were not undertaken.

David Robinson, Solent and South Downs Area Flood and Coastal Risk Operations Manager, said: “By carrying out the recycling work, we are able to maintain the defences at Seaford in readiness for high tides and stormy winter weather. Shingle recycling at Seaford has been identified as the most cost-effective method for maintaining the beach for coastal protection and recreational purposes, while still allowing natural coastal processes to continue.

“We work with East Sussex County Council to ensure protection of wildlife, flora and fauna, and Seaford Town Council and local residents to enable the beach environment to be enjoyed all year round.”

The four kilometre shingle beach takes the energy and force out of the waves, protecting the old sea wall and minimising shingle and wave overtopping. Over time, natural coastal processes along the frontage move shingle away from the central section of the beach to the north west (West Beach) and south east (Splash Point) depending on prevailing wind and wave direction.

In autumn and spring each year, the Environment Agency moves around 60,000 cubic metres of shingle from the eastern and western ends back to the centre of the beach. The shingle is loaded into lorries by an excavator, which then transport the material to where it is needed.

The beach is carefully monitored and regular surveys are conducted to provide information on shingle volumes and locations. A bulldozer will be deployed to the frontage in the event of any storm damage between the two recycling phases.

Those living in areas at risk of flooding should take precautions to reduce the impact on their homes. To find out about the flood warning service, call Floodline on 0345 988 1888 or visit www.gov.uk.

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