Rocks shipped in to protect Hayling Island from the sea

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HUGE rocks have been shipped all the way from Norway in the battle to stop Hayling Island from flooding.

The 70,000 tons of rocks are part of the £5m Eastoke Point Coastal Defence Works, which are shoring up the beach to prevent flooding of homes, holiday apartments and Sandy Point Nature Reserve.

HARD work Marc Bryan, project manager, in front of the rocks on Hayling Island

HARD work Marc Bryan, project manager, in front of the rocks on Hayling Island

The area is vulnerable to flooding and erosion, with the last big floods in 2005.

But thanks to the work of the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership, experts from Fareham, Gosport, Portsmouth and Havant councils have been sharing resources and expertise to stop the erosion.

The defences – which should last 100 years – are being built by Raymond Brown Construction.

Marc Bryan, the partnership’s project manager, said: ‘We’re replacing all the old groynes in an area of beach which is, historically, quite low.

‘We manage the whole southern frontage of Eastoke and Hayling Island through beach management.

‘But in this area of coastline, around the Sandy Point Nature Reserve, it has always been quite difficult to maintain those levels of beach management alone.

‘With this new structure we put in a rock barrier, three new rock groynes which will help give a good defence to the area.

‘Then we’re going to raise the level of the beach with 30,000 tons of shingle in front of the new structure.

‘We’re also doing some work to the old splashwall that runs between the promenade and the new structure and the houses.’

It was a time-consuming and complex operation to get the rocks in place.

They came over on large barges from Norway, 24,500 tons at a time.

The barges were moored two miles offshore and brought to the shore on transporters carrying loads of 1,500 tons.

The rock was unloaded at high tide and, as the tide went out, it was collected.

Using hi-tech GPS equipment the rocks were strategically positioned at the right angles to ensure the best defence from the sea.

New storm boards are being put at access points in Bosmere Road and Nutbourne Road. Work should be completed by mid-October.