Pollution fears raised for Portsmouth Harbour if critical sea defence work doesn't happen

PORTSMOUTH Harbour could be at risk of pollution if sea defences in Fareham are not improved.

By Toby Paine
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 11:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 6:32 pm

Fareham Borough Council has voted to carry out a feasibility study for coastal defences at Fareham Quay and Alton Grove to Cador Drive.

The study will develop risk management scheme options to tackle the growing threat of flooding and coastal erosion in the borough.

Councillor Simon Martin, Fareham’s planning boss, said: ‘Fareham is now responsible for maintaining the coastal frontages which are now reaching the end of their serviceable life.

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Fareham Quay Picture: Duncan Crone

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‘All areas are subject to waver overtopping due to high winds and tides combined.

‘The modelling which is being done by the coastal partners shows us that there is a significant issue with flooding potentially taking place at both of these areas.

‘There is also the additional risk of pollution from the coastal landfill sites where we are really trying to manage the sins of our fathers who thought it was a good idea to landfill very close to the edge of the foreshore.’

Portsmouth Harbour Picture: Adobe Stock

In addition to historic landfill sites polluting the harbour, extreme weather events could see residential properties being flooded if the future integrity of the defences is not secured.

If a one-in-100 extreme tidal event were to happen today, 49 properties would be at risk over both areas increasing to 400 properties if the same event happened in 100 years, council documents claimed.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of the council, said: ‘The problem we have with such flood defence schemes is that often unless you have very significant risk to residential property you don’t get any money from the Environment Agency.

‘I’m really pleased that £457,000 has come out of the southern regional flood and coastal committee - I had to work very hard with the chairman of that committee who did a very good job for Fareham.’

Councillor Susan Walker, executive member for leisure and community, supported the scheme but had reservations about funding.

‘To remember back to 2014-15 when we had the consultation for the Portchester to Paulsgrove sea defence and it was a great consultation, members of the public got involved,’ she said.

‘There were significantly more residential and commercial properties at risk than this particular project, and today we still have had no work done, because we didn’t have the funding.

‘I think it’s important that we get this stage done but there must be a very great caution put, we haven't got the money to do the work.’

The study will take 18 months to complete, once completed options for improvements will be taken to the council for approval.

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