Sea defences to be built to protect Hayling Island

BIG TRUCK Work is under way to create sea defences at Eastoke beach on Hayling Island
BIG TRUCK Work is under way to create sea defences at Eastoke beach on Hayling Island

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THOUSANDS of tons of shingle will ward off the threat of Mother Nature after huge waves battered Hayling Island last month.

Heavy machinery and workers will be a familiar sight on the beaches at Eastoke for the next month to build up sea defences. As reported in The News, waves carved canyon-like sections from the shingle beach.

The onslaught was caused by a large Atlantic swell brought about by a storm thousands of miles away in the ocean.

Eastoke bore the brunt of the powerful waves because, unlike Portsmouth and Gosport, it does not have the protection of the Isle of Wight. Havant Borough Council is now employing contractors Les Searle Plant & Hire Sales Ltd to dump 36,500 tons of shingle on the beach.

The stone will be extracted from other parts of the beach at Hayling Island.

Maintenance work happens every year, but this year is even more necessary after the damage caused by February’s waves.

Experts recently carried out a study on how best to defend the Eastoke peninsula and recycling the material already on the beach was considered the most effective method.

Councillor Jenny Wride, who heads coastal management, said: ‘Beach recycling attracts a lot of interest on Hayling Island, with many people curious about the large machinery on show.

‘The Eastoke Study has shown that this is one important element of our strategy to stop erosion and flooding in this area. Our actions are having a positive impact as the prevention of serious problems following an Atlantic swell in February has shown.’

Rosemary Satchwell, owner of The Terracotta Pot Shop at Eastoke Corner, said: ‘I must admit a lot of people like the beach as it is now and it’s all going to be covered over. But we don’t know what would happen if they did not do it – that’s the problem.’

The work is being funded by a £145,000 grant from the Environment Agency. Throughout March beaches at Eastoke will remain open to the public. However, some sections may be temporarily closed while work is carried out.