Update on £100m flood defence project from Pevensey Bay to Eastbourne

The Environment Agency is in partnership with Eastbourne Borough Council to develop a £100m project to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion.

This project will be one of the largest in the country, stretching 15kms from Cooden Beach to Holywell.

According to the Environment Agency (EA), it will reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion to about 10,000 residential properties as well as key infrastructure, local businesses, heritage sites and nature conservation areas.

Plans also aim to increase biodiversity by 20 per cent and reduce carbon generated by the project, by at least 45 per cent with an aim of becoming Net Zero by 2030.

Update on £100m flood scheme in Eastbourne to Pevensey

An update on the plans was held today (Thursday, July 14).

Nick Gray from EA said the scheme is at the point where it has many possibilities to narrow down. He said the team worked with the community to find out what options would be most suitable.

The team will refine the list until Spring 2023 when draft sketches will be open to consultation. Then the community can get involved again before an outline business case is taken to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) next summer.

A full business case will be taken to DEFRA in 2025, ready for work to start in 2026.

Graham Kenn, technical director JBA Consulting, said: “Nothing it off the table at the moment, we're looking at all the feasible options available.

“It's also about maximising the life of the structures we already have in place – we need to look after what we have if we can.

“There won't be changes overnight.”

Eastbourne currently has shingle beaches and timber groynes which need regular shingle replenishment.

Mr Gray said this money will be used make sure Eastbourne to Pevensey are protected for the 100 years, which means it is a case of staggering the spending and making use of current maintenance structure.

Tim Whelan, from Eastbourne Borough Council, said the council is developing a strategy parallel with the scheme.

He said: “Until we see the Environment Agency timeline, there's no point spending loads of money on seafront assets.

“The bandstand suffers from flooding now, it will be impacted by the proposals.

“We're firmly in partnership with the Environment Agency to make the most of taxpayers' money.”

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Mr Gray said: “It's a long journey but this is a massive project. We want to do this properly.

“This is more than a standard flood defence project, this is about leaving a legacy for the communities.”

The next stages will be public consultations running in Spring 2023. This will give the public the chance to share their thoughts before anything is taken to DEFRA.