Sea Defense 2011

Update 20th December 2011

After an entertaining first half of December, it now looks as though Christmas should be peaceful – at least on the wind and wave front.  Machines will continue to work until Friday afternoon when they will stop for two weeks.  I doubt very much that everything will be back to normal by then, but I hope to complete a survey between Christmas and New Year, which will give us a better idea of what remains to be done.

It is therefore likely that we will still need to move some shingle around again, starting on Monday 9th January.  In the meantime, work is likely to focus on Herbrand Walk, Normans Bay and Beachlands.

Update 13th December 2011

Last night’s weather was – to say the least – interesting.  I have to say the erosion I have seen today was much worse than I expected.  By and large that seems to be because offshore waves forecast at 3.75m were recorded at 4.9m around high water. 

The main problem we have now is limited access to the beach.  Even the quad bike is unable to move freely along the entire frontage when the tide is in.  So we will need to mound over some groynes or refill pockets of erosion around groyne heads so machines can get along.  From 07:00 tomorrow there will be two recycling gangs working at opposite ends of the frontage, as well as an extra bulldozer.  Normans Bay East will be recycled tonight ahead of the 01:00 high water.  Hopefully the next couple of days will provide some respite before there is a further storm due on Thursday.  From Friday winds seem to be veering to NW and then N, so next week should allow more time to repair most eroded areas.

Update 12th December 2011

As most of you are probably aware this week’s weather is not going to be good.  Winds will be at gale force for most of the week, and in the last hour sea area Dover (which covers Dover to Beachy Head) has been issued with a storm force 10 warning for this evening.  We are on spring tides, although they are not especially high, and some substantial storm surges are expected, as are 4m high waves.

To put it in perspective, we experience all of the above at various times every winter, so are not anticipating any serious problems.  We do however expect there to be some significant movement of beach throughout the week.  There are already two bulldozers here and an excavator and two dumptrucks will arrive today.  Therefore from tomorrow we will be moving shingle back from where it is being eroded.  Obviously we can’t work everywhere at once, but we will do our best to ensure that areas most at risk are protected.

After tonight, conditions will moderate (if force 8 instead of force 10 can be considered moderating), but there is a chance that Thursday into Friday maybe even worse.  The end of the week is too far away to be able to predict exactly what will happen, but we will be monitoring things closely.  One hopeful sign is that winds are expected to swing to the north from Saturday, so although it may be colder waves should disappear.

I will provide any further updates as and when some of the detail is confirmed.

Update 2nd December 2011

It may be that November 2011 proves to be one of the warmest on record for the UK, and it has certainly been less windy than normal.  But as we all know it is when the storms appear, not necessarily how many there are, that count.  So after a quiet three weeks, which actually served to increase crest widths, it all changed this week.

A survey on Monday & Tuesday showed there had been no net loss of beach – indeed in many areas sand levels at the beach toe have increased – but there has been a draw-down of shingle from the crest to the lower foreshore.  In time some will return naturally, but to help the process along we will have a second bulldozer working next week.  The next series of spring tides are relatively low at 6.9m, before the highest for December are with us on 25th.  I expect we will continue with the two machines for a couple of weeks and only bring in dumptrucks if we continue to get gales.

Hopefully it will all sorted in time for a relaxing Christmas.  We can but hope!

Update 25th November 2011

Lorries transporting shingle round Sovereign Harbour from Langney will complete their work this afternoon.  We have nothing else planned in the short term other than the bulldozer working in various locations along the frontage

The next influx of machines will be in response to the next storms as and when they inevitably appear.  It is going to get windy again tomorrow night, although winds are expected to turn to the north or northwest by Sunday evening, so any erosion should be limited to tomorrow night’s high water.

Update 17th November 2011

Sufficient shingle has built up on the south side of Sovereign Harbour for us to undertake a first bypassing operation of the winter.  Works will be for one week only and run Monday to Friday (21st to 25th) every day from 07:30 until about 16:30.  The route from Langney to Sovereign Harbour north will be as specified by Eastbourne Borough Council and ESCC Highways, and remains exactly as it has been in recent years.  A road sweeper will be on hand to ensure the public highway is kept free of debris. 

Update 21st October 2011

Our first period of recycling will finish today, with all machines returning to the Environment Agency depot on Coast Road.  It is unlikely that all tidying up and beach re-grading will be completed this afternoon, so anything missed will be completed on Monday.  Bypassing of beach round Sovereign Harbour will not be starting straight away because the high spring tides towards the end of next week mean that there will be limited access to Langney beach either side of high water.  It is now expected that this work will start sometime in November.

Update 10th October 2011

The end of summer heralds the start of the recycling season in preparation for whatever the coming winter may throw at us. Areas requiring attention are much the same as usual for this time of year.  Initially shingle will be sourced from Cooden beach and delivered to Herbrand Walk, near the level crossing.  Then beach from Herbrand Walk west will be used to reinforce Normans Bay East.  After this Beachlands will be bolstered using accretion at Normans Bay outfall and from in front of the Camping & Caravan Club.  It is not planned to do any recycling at Sovereign Harbour because annual recharge material remains in place.  Additionally it is likely that a first batch of shingle from south of Sovereign Harbour will be bypassed onto the north beach later this month.

Updates will be provided as work progresses next week.

Update 3rd October 2011

I found out this morning that our Indian Summer has helped Bulverhythe works finish early, so that Sospan Dau will be back at Sovereign Harbour in the early hours of tomorrow. We only need 5 or 6 more loads to complete this year’s campaign, but there is a likelihood that tides may be lost on Wednesday or Thursday due to increasing winds. All being equal we should be finished by the weekend.

A bulldozer is now on site to remain working until Easter 2012. At the moment it also looks likely that we will start recycling next Monday (10th), with the bulk of work being from Cooden to Herbrand Walk, and then Normans Bay East to Beachlands. There may be short duration works in other location to reflect the results of the survey that was completed on Friday, but I will provide additional updates as we go.

Update 23rd September 2011

Sospan Dau is now back in Sussex, but the time lost to bad weather 10 days ago means another change of plan. With the highest tides of the year due towards the end of next week, she has been diverted to work at Bulverhythe where the foreshore is shallow and hence high tides are more important than they when working here. I do not expect her back in Sovereign Harbour until early October.

In the meantime the bulldozer will be returning for its winter stint on Monday. It will probably not be long before the first recycling starts, although I hope to delay it until October as well. The only reason it will start sooner would be because stormier weather was forecast for next week’s spring tide and having trucks here during a storm enables any resulting erosion to be repaired more quickly.

Update 11th August 2011

There has been no real change in our planning since my last email. Sospan Dau completed her 23rd load yesterday morning and has left for Rotterdam. Currently we expect a further 5 or so deliveries in September once she returns from her refit. If the remainder of summer continues to be windy, perhaps we will need to bring in a little more, but hopefully a further 3 days should be all we need.

Some other parts of the beach will need recycling before too long – particularly HW and Beachlands – but we have no intention of starting this until the end of the school holidays. On the other hand we have 8.0m tides immediately after August Bank Holiday weekend, so it is always possible that we will have to start then.

Update 2nd August 2011

After a two week hiatus Sospan Dau is due to resume recharge works at Sovereign Harbour in the early hours of Thursday morning, having left Cardiff yesterday afternoon.  She will be with us for about a week before needing to be in Rotterdam for her refit.  Any deliveries not completed in this next phase will be completed in September when she returns to Sussex primarily for recharge works at Bulverhythe.

Update 19th July 2011

It may come as no surprise that there was some disruption to shingle deliveries over the weekend due to the weather.  Delays now mean that we will no longer complete this year’s replenishment in one go.  Sospan Dau has a long-standing commitment to be in South Wales on 24th July, so will need to leave Sussex after her 14:45 delivery on Thursday 21st.

Assuming all goes well, she should be back on 5th August….but then has to be in dry dock in Holland on 11th August for a refit of her accommodation areas.  So if summer 2011 continues as it has, we could well be finishing off in September.

As they say – watch this space…

Update 8th July 2011

The latest information I have on the arrival of Sospan Dau is that she is now on route down the Bristol Channel, bound for Newhaven, where she has about three days’ work, before moving on to Sovereign Harbour.  The current gales are likely to delay her passage around Lands End for a short while, but conditions are due to moderate this afternoon.  We therefore expect the first delivery to made to Sovereign Harbour revetment over the 10:20 HW on Wednesday 13th July.

Update 1st July 2011

Summer seems to be here, so our attention turns to the annual beach recharge.  Dredger Sospan Dau is due in Holland for a major refit to her bridge and accommodation areas in early August, so consequently needs to complete Pevensey works this month.  The current estimated start date I have is 14th July.

Works will be precisely the same as they have been for the last two years.  Shingle will be delivered by the dredger every high water day & night for approximately two weeks.  It will be pumped onto the beach in front of the rock revetment where it will be allowed to naturally distribute by wave action alone.  We do not expect to use any machines on the beach during these works.

The actual start date is subject to any mechanical or weather delays that may occur where Sospan Dau is currently working.  I will update you on when work is to actually begin once she has reached south coast waters.

Update 19th April 2011

It looks as though the good weather will last through most – if not all – Easter weekend, producing that rare event, a British Bank Holiday with warmth & sunshine.

I noticed this morning that the high tides have caused some cliffing of the beach crest in some places.  An excavator will move along the frontage from East to west tomorrow and Thursday to alleviate this as much as we can before Easter weekend.

I would also like to remind you that our Annual Public Forum will be held in St. Wilfrid’s Hall next week, on Thursday 28th April, from 2pm to 6pm.  Please pass on the enclosed flyer to anyone you know who may be interested in attending.

Update 12th April 2011

The final bulldozer left the beach on Friday, and hopefully will not be needed again until Autumn.  I expect Mackley back for a few days in early May (in other words after the Easter holidays) to remove a few pieces of loose groyne timber.

I understand that Sospan Dau will be spending six to eight weeks in dry dock having some maintenance work done later this summer, so our annual recharge needs to be complete by 24th July.  I therefore expect our work to be in late June or early July, but will keep you informed as and when I hear any more.

This year’s annual forum will be in St Wilfrid’s Hall, Pevensey Bay on Thursday 28th April.  Further details to follow , probably early next week.

Here’s to a long and pleasant summer!

Update 29th March 2011

Recycling machines have this evening finished work and left the beach.  Hopefully they will not be required again until autumn.  The bulldozer will remain and complete one or two outstanding jobs and tidy up before leaving for the summer as well.  I would hope everything will be completed by Friday 7th April.

Update 25th March 2011

Although the March spring tides have now passed without incident, I have no doubt that the warm dry weather has made the passing of trucks up and down the beach more inconvenient for sea front residents.  I can only apologise – and had I known in advance how the weather was going to behave, would have arranged a different week. 

The long distance haul will finish today and all but two trucks will leave.  These will work Monday & Tuesday at Beachlands and then be finished.  One bulldozer will remain for another week or two tidying up and finishing off one or two smaller jobs.

Unfortunately one of the two bulldozers currently working has broken down and will be unable to help level the beach where trucks have been running.  Anything missed this afternoon will be completed tomorrow instead.

Update 16th March 2011

Although today doesn’t feel quite as spring like as yesterday I have high hopes that spring is finally on the way as the sea pea and sea kale plants outside my office are beginning to show signs of life.

I am equally hopeful that the high spring tide early next week will see the end to our main works for the 2010-11 winter season.  March has produced a significant storm in each of the last three years, and necessitated additional work.  However, the current weather forecasts suggests that high pressure will remain in control into next week, with easterly winds dominating, so this final 8m tide should pass without incident.

Just in case the March storm pattern continued I have arranged for dump trucks to be on standby, and in any case will start what I hope to be the final recycle of the winter tomorrow.  Thursday will see work at PBSC and Sovereign Harbour, then Friday at Beachlands.  Machines will park at Normans Bay East over the weekend.  From Monday to Friday (21-25th) shingle will be moved from Herbrand Walk to Sovereign Harbour, right along the frontage.  As the beach is already quite dry I apologise in advance for any dust that arises from this transportation.  Hopefully the winds will be a little to the north of east and not blow onto houses too much.  As in previous years all trucks will drive in convoy and be limited to 10mph in an attempt to minimise inconvenience.

With any luck all recycling will finish next Friday, although I expect to retain the bulldozer for a week or so after that to ensure the beach is left in good condition for summer.

I will be out of the office for most of Tuesday and Wednesday, so if you do want to contact me to comment on the works please use my mobile phone number as below

Update 12th March 2011

I understand that Sospan Dau will be spending six to eight weeks in dry dock having some maintenance work done later this summer, so our annual recharge needs to be complete by 24th July.  I therefore expect our work to be in late June or early July, but will keep you informed as and when I hear any more.

This year’s annual forum will be in St Wilfrid’s Hall, Pevensey Bay on Thursday 28th April.  Further details to follow , probably early next week.

Here’s to a long and pleasant summer!

Update 1st March 2011

Recycling this week will be confined to Cooden and Herbrand Walk, although if progress is good some additional shingle may be delivered to Normans Bay East at the end of the week.  Machines will then leave the beach at the weekend.

With further large tides to come from 20-22 March I expect to do a further week or ten days work before the end of March, unless of course a significant southwesterly storm comes our way during that time and necessitates a longer period of work. 

I will contact you again in mid march to confirm what arrangements we have made

Update 21st February 2011

Recycling will continue this week with work finishing today at Sovereign Harbour.  This afternoon machines will move to Normans Bay outfall and move beach to Beachlands.  Later in the week they will relocate to Herbrand Walk/Cooden, which will provide material for Normans Bay East and East Stream.  I expect this phase of work to be complete towards the end of next week.

Although it looks as though this set of spring tides will pass without incident, those of 21-23 March are not much lower, so I anticipate a further short duration recycle then or soon after.  Hopefully that will be the final works for winter 2010-11.

Update 14th February 2011

Although the odd day now begins to hint of spring, we have some significant tides to negotiate before we can look forward to summer.  Two of the highest springs of the year occur next Sunday and Monday, and with that in mind we will be starting two dump trucks and an excavator on Thursday morning so they are already here should there be any sudden need to move shingle over the weekend.  Small amounts of work are required at 'White Horses'/Sovereign Harbour, Beachlands and Herbrand Walk, and it is likely that we will start at Sovereign Harbour on Thursday.

Currently the forecast is for light winds at the end of the week, but “changeable” from the weekend onward.  It is still far too far away to guess what weather we actually might get, but March has produced a significant storm in each of the last three years.

Incidentally, Thursday will also see the start of 200,000 m³ of shingle being pumped ashore at Eastbourne.  PCDL won the work for Eastbourne BC and has to complete it by the end of March.  Dredger “Prins der Nederlanden” is ten times the size of Sospan Dau and will be pumping ashore more than 10,000 m³ per day via a temporary pipeline laid on the sea bed.  Being so much larger than Sospan Dau she cannot approach far inshore so the pipeline is in excess of 1km long.  It is much different from the technique used at Pevensey and makes for quite a spectacle.  Discharge starts one hour before high water and last about 4 hours should anyone care to watch.

I will update you on Pevensey progress once works are in progress.

Kind regards


Ian Thomas
Project Manager
Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd
Environment Agency Depot
Coast Road
Pevensey Bay
East Sussex  BN24 6ND

Tel: 01323 761202
Fax: 01323 764368
Mob: 07884 234298

Updated: Saturday, October 4, 2014 8:59