Sea defences need to be a priority for Portsmouth

Clive Smith says he would not like to arm wrestle athlete Caster Semenya 		Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: English pigs? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

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As the north of England continues to suffer at the hands of the recent heavy rain and subsequent flooding, we may not have suffered such devastation here in Hampshire.

But perhaps we should consider what is happening along the seafront near The Pyramids Centre in Southsea to be a significant warning shot across our bows.

Sea defences are one of those things that it is easy to push to the back of the list of priorities, but as events over the last couple of days have demonstrated, doing so could be done at our peril.

Portsmouth is very much defined by its status as an island city, and being so flat, a breach of the sea defences could quickly become catastrophic.

One needs to only look at York – a city that hasn’t flooded in decades – to see how quickly situations can change.

Playing party politics over who did or didn’t pay for what and when is not going to achieve anything.

By all accounts, the damage to the promenade did not come about as the result of something that happened overnight – this is a problem that has been many years in the making.

Bringing in 2,000 tonnes of rock to shore up the damaged stretch is a vital step.

However, we must make sure that it does not end there – these rocks are at best a sticking plaster on a major wound.

This is not something that we should cut corners on, and we should be making sure that the proper measures are constructed as soon as possible.

But even once these defences are in place, we cannot rest on our laurels – this is a matter that is far too important to the future of Portsmouth.

It is the nature of the beast that the sea is relentless, and those defences will be tested from the moment they have been built.