Environment Agency starts work on Isle of Wight coastal defence

19 Sep 2023 12:39 PM

Options considered for refurbishment of the coastal frontage between St Helens and Bembridge – part of wider project to reduce risk of flooding and coastal erosion.

The Environment Agency is doing groundwork investigations to better understand the composition and condition of the embankment that covers 1.7km along Embankment Road, from Bembridge sailing club to St Helens.

The coastal defences along Embankment Road are ageing, with some sections reaching the end of their useful life. If nothing is done to repair these, over time there will be an increased risk of failure in the form of a breach.

This would adversely impact the B3395 and the footpath alongside Bembridge Harbour. It would also lead to tidal flooding in the low-lying land of Brading Marshes nature reserve. The RSPB site is recognised internationally for its freshwater habitat and saline lagoons and is an important site for wintering and nesting birds in the Solent.

Emily Gordon, a programme manager at the Environment Agency in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, yesterday said:

From 21 September to 6 October there will be two-way traffic management which will last for approximately 2 weeks. This is to allow space for specialist equipment and a safe working space for our staff. We have worked with Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads to reduce the number of road closures as much as possible, and there will also be some footpath closures. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this will cause.

Refurbishing the coastal defences at Embankment Road means they will better withstand the extreme weather events we are already starting to experience because of climate change. Looking ahead, the sea defences must be refurbished in a way that makes them more resilient to sea level rise and increased storm severity, so they continue to protect the community and local wildlife habitats.

For the groundwork investigations along the Embankment Road, boreholes will be drilled at various points along the road using specialist equipment to retrieve a core which will be analysed by a specialist. The proposed sites for these boreholes can be seen on our dedicated webpage, Embankment Road (Bembridge) Coastal Defence Scheme Information Page - Environment Agency - Citizen Space (environment-agency.gov.uk).