Next stage for Isle of Wight coastal defence scheme

Scheme will reduce risk of flooding and coastal erosion to more than 3,700 homes and business on the island along with infrastructure and protected habitats.

The Environment Agency, in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council, is working alongside industry experts to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion to more than 3,700 island homes and businesses, vital infrastructure and over 300 hectares of protected habitat.

The scheme will see 4 projects at Embankment Road (Bembridge), Yaverland, Shanklin and Ventnor being progressed thanks to the crucial government funding. The current coastal defences are ageing at these locations and the current work is investigating how these could be replaced.

Floods Minister Rebecca Pow said:

This vital £7 million in funding will bring the Isle of Wight coastal defence scheme one step closer to beginning construction, and once completed will see more than 3,700 island homes and businesses better protected from flooding and coastal erosion.

This funding is just one part of our record £5.2 billion investment to better protect hundreds of thousands of properties across England.

Nick Gray, the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for Solent and South Downs Area, said:

It’s great news that we can now move to the next stage of this ambitious scheme.

Our teams will continue our work with the community to understand their priorities and concerns, and develop and design a preferred option for each location. It will also enable us to undertake the necessary technical, economic and environmental work and ground investigations to inform our decisions.

Once this phase is complete, we will be requesting further funding from central government to finalise the business case and construct the schemes.

At this stage it is estimated that the 4 capital schemes have a total potential cost of £54.7 million, with partnership funding opportunities to supplement the available government funding.

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Cabinet member responsible for the environment, said:

Flooding and coastal erosion can have a devastating and lasting impact on the lives of those affected, and this is why it remains a high priority for us and why we have agreed a significant investment in the programme. We are determined to support people who are most at risk as much as we can.

These long-term commitments in partnership with the Environment Agency and significant government funding will make homes, businesses and infrastructure more resilient to the accelerating impacts of the climate crisis. The views of the public are important to us as we continue to plan this important work – and we’ll continue to consult them.

The investment will help these coastal communities to be more resilient to the increasing risk of tidal flooding and coastal erosion and help protect the designated habitat at Brading Marshes.

Nick Gray added:

This is a critical time for residents and businesses to get involved and have their say on the future of flood and coastal protection on the island. You can find out more by visiting Citizen Space and signing up to our newsletters to receive further information.

Further information

The government’s investment in flooding has doubled to a record £5.2 billion between 2021 and 2027, creating around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,000 properties across England.

Earlier this year we announced that over £860 million will be invested in more than 1,000 flood schemes between 2021 and 2022. This is record annual investment and an extra £250 million more than last year.

Environment Agency and its partners: Isle of Wight Council, JBA Consulting and VolkerStevin.

The programme includes seeking the necessary funds for:

  • refurbishment and replacement of some of the existing coastal defences and additional slope stabilisation measures in Ventnor
  • refurbishment of the sea wall and defences at Yaverland and Culver Parade in Sandown
  • refurbishment of the sea wall and defences at Shanklin Esplanade
  • repair work to the sea defences at Embankment Road, between St Helens and Bembridge.

Although the Ventnor and Shanklin defences are owned and maintained by the Isle of Wight Council, the Environment Agency is working on the council’s behalf to develop a business case for future investment.

Different parts of the Yaverland defences are owned and maintained by either the Environment Agency or the Isle of Wight Council, but both organisations will work together to assess how best to refurbish or replace parts of the coastal defences which were first built by Victorian engineers over 100 years ago.

The defences at Embankment Road are privately owned and maintained, but as a competent authority under Habitat Regulations the Environment Agency is looking to protect the designated habitat of Brading Marshes.

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