Funding for defence of our coast can not slip away

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Anyone in doubt about the tremendous power of the sea only has to turn to page three of today’s newspaper to see it laid bare for them in precise detail.

The awesome photograph clearly shows how the waves have battered Eastoke at Hayling Island.

Large sections of this shingle beach have been carved away and thousands of stones have been displaced by the tide.

Mother Nature certainly got her teeth stuck in and this stretch of coastline, unprotected as it is and vulnerable to an attack from the elements, was unable to fight back or even hold on.

But despite the dramatic change in appearance at Eastoke, the terrible flooding that occurred in that area in 2005 was largely avoided.

The defence work that has been going on there ever since appears to have come through this test very well, all things considered. That must be comforting to those who live there.

They won’t have to wait long to see the canyon-like sections of shingle filled in as replenishment work will take place next month.

We are sure no one is complacent and thinks that is the end of the story though as it does seem increasingly likely that many sections of our coastline will remain under threat.

Most people now accept that the sea level is rising and that global warming is to blame.

Who knows if we will continue to experience unusual weather patterns as we have done this past two winters.

Yet we must continue to ensure that people and property are protected as much as possible from the erosion of our coastline and that is why the money spent on preserving our beaches has not been a waste.

The destructive nature of the tides that surround this island of ours will continue to have a powerful impact on our landscape.

But none of us can afford to give up on projects such as the one to replenish shingle around Hayling Island.

Central government must understand that and ensure that schemes like this receive the funding needed to go on.