GETTING involved with the shaping of Portsmouth's sea defences is 'essential', a student specialising in the city's coast has said.
Portsmouth-born Alex Winship has made sea defences in the city the focus of her final year dissertation at Keele University, with getting feedback from local people her main goal.
As part of her project, which will explore coastal management across the whole of Portsea Island, Alex is asking Portsmouth residents to complete her specially created survey. Results will determine how important people think the defences are and how much involvement they have had in some of the schemes.
The 22-year-old geography student said: 'I wanted to write about Portsmouth because I am from here and because I am really interested in coastal management. It is also really important to get local people on board.
'A lot of people will be aware that the defences are being built and that sea levels are rising because there has been increasing coverage in local and national news. Most people think that it's going to be a risk in about 100 years but with climate change the rate of big storms we have could increase, which will add to the risks.
'I'm going to gather information from people from across postcodes PO1 to PO5 to see if there's any difference in the way sea defences are viewed.'
Alex believed it was important that people were aware of defence work in other areas of the city such as Anchorage Park and the Great Salterns, not just the Southsea coastal scheme
She added: 'When you first think of sea defences in Portsmouth you think of Southsea but there are so many other schemes such as Anchorage Park.'
'I did go to the Southsea sea defences consultation last summer, it's great that they are getting people involved like that because it will make sure the defences are built in a way that people like while keeping Portsmouth safe.'
The Southsea defences will stretch from Long Curtain Moat to Eastney Barracks, and protect over 8,077 homes and 704 businesses from major flooding for the next 100 years.
Speaking about the defences council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘We’ve got to make sure what we build will protect people from flooding. There are a lot of people whose homes are at risk and we can’t sit back at do nothing. Every year we have bits of the seafront that collapse. Not only are sea levels rising but also the power of storms that are hitting are getting stronger.’