First major step in Southsea sea defences begins

The first major step in the £100million sea defence project was taken today with a unique ‘rainbowing’ display to bring tonnes of gravel to the shore

Dredging vessel, the Sospan Dau, was used off shore at Long Curtain Moat to dredge material from the sea and spray it onto the beach. This will develop a temporary working platform between Clarence Pier and the Spur Redoubt to enable the first stages of a £100 million sea defence scheme.

Rainbow dredging Southsea sea defences

Liberal Democrat councillor Hugh Mason (St Jude Ward, in Southsea) has been campaigning for the sea defences for years. He is now Portsmouth’s Cabinet Member for planning policy and city development.

Cllr Hugh MasonHe says: “The Southsea Coastal Scheme has been a long time coming, and the arrival of the Sospan Dau is a very real indication that things are moving ahead at pace. This is the first real sign that the new coastal defences are taking shape. I congratulate the team for getting to this point and look forward to seeing the works progress for the benefit of the Southsea community.”

Around 5,000 cubic metres of gravel will be sprayed via a specialised nozzle on the bow of the vessel over the next three days, with the material forming an arc - or rainbow - onto the beach.

It is planned the scheme will create as little waste as possible, with the dredged gravel an example of this. The vessel will return in around 20 days to create a second working platform between the Spur Redoubt and the Saluting Platform.

The current coastal defences do not offer a sufficient level of protection and are at the end of their serviceable life, leaving 8,077 homes and 704 commercial properties in Southsea at risk from coastal flooding. The predicted effects of climate change will increase this risk further over the next century.

In 2020, the government awarded nearly £100m of funding to the Southsea Coastal Scheme. Funding from the Environment Agency was the final hurdle the Portsmouth City Council project had to overcome and work started on 7 September 2020.

Work on section of the defences at Long Curtain Moat started in September this year as the first of six phases from Old Portsmouth to Eastney. It is expected to take 12 to 18 months with the entire scheme estimated to end in 2026.

Why do we need to replace the sea defences in Portsmouth? 

The final design proposal

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