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Escalating Erosion!

Wilf Forrow, HIRA member and campaigner for Cycle Hayling, provides these notes following HIRA's Public Meeting last night when we held an impromptu meeting to share coastal erosion concerns. Anne Skennerton, Chair of HIRA, invited Andy Pearce and Adam Sennitt, 2 Coastal Engineers from Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership to the Meeting in order for them to hear and answer residents' concerns on this issue.

ESCP speakers invited to respond to questions on ESCP & HBC current policy re Hayling’s coastline.

  • Adam Sennett

  • Andy Pearce

Dave Parham (Save our Island & Hayling resident) summarised the West Beach situation.

  • Storm on Sunday was not the cause of the damage to West Beach.

  • Erosion is caused by HBC withdrawing support for sea defences.

  • Because there’s no funding.

  • 24 second interval waves cause increased damage, and increasingly common.

  • No revetments to hold beach

  • 15 metres lost in one day. Flooded golf course, to road

  • Government funding formula needs 5 to 1 return minimum, possibly up to 8 to 1.

  • Lance Quantrill says HCC aware, HBC definitely aware.

Questions from the floor, answered by Andy of ESCP.

Q1. Why is there funding for Eastoke but not West Beach?

  • Eastoke is a basin, with 1700 houses, high economic value, at major risk, which brings money under government funding formula.

  • Really like to get material where the accretion happens, mainly Gunner Point

  • But Gunner Point is private land, and SSSI protected.

  • Discussion with Golf course to make road to carry lorries and defend land.

  • But recent (about last 18moths) available Gunner Point material is low quality sand and fine gravel, not big pebbles, therefore not a lot of use.

  • West Beach has very few properties at risk, so no Government formula funding.

Q2. Rod Porteous. As past Chief Engineer for Portsmouth Water, I know that the Havant Thicket reservoir funding includes other methodologies than pure economic value, it took more account of social and other community benefits. Why can’t you explore those?

  • Fully agree, and we are trying, but the legislation is being very strictly enforced.

  • Gross added value is only one measure, but currently the only one allowed.

  • Are lobbying hard, so far no good until the law is changed.

Q3. Anne Skennerton. Can ESCP share more about the Hayling Island Coastal Strategy that has been discussed internally?

  • The target is an overall Shoreline Management Plan, built on individual evidence based strategies.

  • But these strategies have yet to be developed. They take time and money.

  • Need 100 year strategy to survive sea level rise.

  • EA has approved funding for strategy in last week

  • Mapping of every inch of Hayling coast was completed 2019, will be part of evidence base.

Q4. Dredger in Langstone Harbour - could we use that on West Beach?

  • Dredging Chichester bar to get stones.

  • However it’s a very expensive solution, West Beach doesn’t attract that level of funding. Eastoke does.

  • West Beach and Gunner Point are very shallow, difficult dredger access.

  • Are we prepared to commit future generations to continue doing it?

Q5. Breakwater – proposed years ago by Mr. Priddy (?) - further out to create inner lake?

  • Andy - yes we could, but that doesn’t mean we should.

  • Apart from cost, there’s huge risk of unintended side effects.

  • Would we like a concrete wall to protect the beach?

  • Many cries of yes, many of no, indicating that islanders would be very divided.

Q6. Why don’t we maintain the existing wooden sea wall? Inn on the Beach will be an Island.

  • We spent £1 million over many years maintaining the existing wooden defences.

  • They’re long past their design lifetime, and are now a danger to the public.

  • Replacing them has no funding.

  • Therefore a past decision was made to allow the beach to find its own level.

  • For various reasons, realignment has been more dramatic than expected.

Q7. Why can’t we just put down rock defences?

  • Yes we could, and 3 to 6 ton rocks would probably solve one problem.

  • But would cost in the region of £2 to 3 million, which is not currently available.

  • And it would create others, for example, we’d lose the beach.

  • And it would move erosion down to golf course.

  • It’s vital to work out an overall long term evidence based strategy that solves the main problems in the long term without creating others.

Q8. Where do we get next year’s gravel for Eastoke if Gunner Point can’t be used?

Also, Chair of Hayling Golf Club said: SSSI and Natural England prevents taking gravel from Gunner Point if it has ANY vegetation, which grows almost immediately. What pressure can we put on NE to override it?

  • Yes, vegetation does prevent us from using some of the best shingle.

  • Yes, they have tried to pressure NE to allow it, and will continue to do so.

  • Future supplies depend on movement in previous months.

  • In general, shingle moves from Eastoke to Chichester Bar, and we dredge it back.

  • Some accretes at Gunner Point.

  • We’ll take it from the most effective and economic source at that time.

Q9. The land around the Par 3 golf course and common land is SSSI. Has that been taken into account?

  • Yes, SSSI is embedded in law, and ESCP will never break the law.

Q10. Surely £2 million pounds expense, even at 8 to 1, you don’t need many Hayling properties to be at risk to get to £16 million?

Dave Parham, as a resident, summary.

  • The Environment Agency specifies the sea level rise that must be assumed for all planning purposes.

  • Assumption was 0.7 metres rise by 2100.

  • It has just doubled that to 1.4 metres.

  • All models to date are based on 0.7 metres, and are therefore useless.

  • Not sure if most islanders realise just how dramatic are the changes that are happening.

  • The Inn on Beach will become an island

Andy said: I am responsible for Operations, not strategy.

He introduced Adam Sennett, who will be managing the new strategy for Hayling.


  • Has been working on it for 3 years when resources allow.

  • Funding sign off for new strategy coming through from EA, but also need HBC sign off.

  • Consultation with stakeholders and partners will be absolutely key.

  • There is no one simple answer, it’s complicated.

  • Once formally approved, it will take 2 months to get started.

  • The overall strategy is expected to take 18 months to 2 years.

Anne thanked Andy, Adam and Dave, and the audience. Much applause.

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