COMMENT: Portsmouth's coastal defences need to stand the test of time

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PORTSMOUTH is fiercely proud of (largely) being an island city. And its lack of substantial hills make it a boon for cyclists who don’t need to battle against the slopes of say, the Isle of Wight.

But it is those same qualities which make the city susceptible to flooding.

Fortunately it has been some years since Portsea has suffered from substantial flooding. 

However, each year brings new places, or the same unfortunate ones, around the UK that have been left counting the cost of the rising waters.

We have all seen the pictures on the news of homes and businesses left ruined, the devastation it leaves behind.

With climate change continuing to bring increasingly unpredictable weather patterns it seems less a matter of not if, but when Portsmouth will be hit.

It has taken eight years to reach this point in the process, which given the pace these large-scale projects progress at, is no surprise.

Considering how some of the early design proposals resembled the Great Wall of China as much as anything else, the ones being put forward now are much more sympathetic.

Finding that balance between something that is aesthetically pleasing and, perhaps more importantly, does its job of holding back the tides effectively, has not been a simple task.

And quite frankly, with any scheme of this magnitude it’s unlikely that the design is ever going to please everybody. But given that there have been three well-publicised public consultations Portsmouth City Council cannot be accused of hiding the issue.

These defences are supposed to hold the line for the next 100 years.

It’s unlikely that anyone reading this now will be around to see if that holds true, but for our children and our children’s children, we hope that the right call is being made here.