Sea Defence 2014

Update 30th September 2014

Autumn seems set to arrive in the next few days, with Monday in particular appearing likely to be windy.  Hopefully the worst winds will come and go before the next 8.0mCD tides from Wednesday to Friday 8-10 October.

With that in mind, the first machines will be back from Monday to start recycling at Normans Bay East, Herbrand Walk and Beachlands.  However, with an unsettled forecast, I have not made any specific plans until we see what Monday brings.

At the same time Sospan Dau is due back from Clacton over the weekend to complete beach recharge at Sovereign Harbour.  But, current weather predictions suggest that her start may be delayed for a day or two.  In total a further 25,000m3 of sediment is due to be delivered, which will probably take the best part of three weeks.

I will provide further updates once works start next week.

Update 9th September 2014

The latest phase of beach replenishment works will finish in the early hours of tomorrow morning, when Sospan Dau has to head to Harwich and Clacton for approximately three weeks.  We expect here to return at the end of the month to complete this year’s works.

Whilst the weather continues to look settled, we will delay bringing machines back to the beach for winter 2014-15, but it will be unusual if this hasn’t happened by early October

Update 1st September 2014

We heard late on Friday that dredger Sospan Dau was available to start the next phase of this summer/autumn’s annual beach recharge.  About 5,000m3 was added in early June, and the next two weeks should see a further 15,000m3 placed on the beach.  In total we expect to deliver around 40,000m3 before winter starts, and will be working with Sospan Dau to deliver further sediment in late September and October.

As usual deliveries will be made in the hour leading up to high water, and all will be deposited in front of Sovereign Harbour’s rock revetment.  There will be no machines on the beach during this operation.

Update 30th May 2014

Recent good weather has meant that Sospan Dau is ahead of schedule and has a few days spare before works start at West Sands, Selsey next week. As we will need approximately double our normal annual beach recharge to redress losses from last winter, we wish to take every opportunity to start this process. At present we expect Sospan Dau to deliver sea dredged aggregate from the Owers bank licensed area in the early hours of Saturday. At this stage, it is likely that she will head for Selsey at some time on Monday. We expect the main bulk of the recharge to take place in late August and September

Update 1st March 2014

It is no surprise to me, given the year so far,  that the 8.0mCD tide on Monday is to be accompanied by more gale force winds and 2m+ waves.  At the moment it looks as though it will only be a problem for one day.  However, given the height of the tide, I believe we will see further crest erosion in those places where we have been attempting repairs.  Even though there is only a small surge predicted, I suspect the Environment Agency may issue a Flood Alert for tides at midnight and/or lunchtime on Monday.  Neither tide is expected to be as bad as any of the storms earlier in February.

Because erosion at Sovereign Harbour revetment has now exposed more rock than should be uncovered, we have been working on re-burying it.  So, if we lose beach crest through Grey Towers, 'The Sandcastle' and Beachlands, it is going to be difficult to get machines back to all areas on Monday.  Winds are forecast to swing westerly and drop through Monday so the two Monday tides should see the limit of any problems this time.

After that, it may be we are back to square one, which means another four or five weeks moving shingle.  I will endeavour to provide updates as and when each new plan is changed by the next period of bad weather

Update 5th February 2014

The high water just passed should be the last in the latest set of spring tides to be of concern as far as flooding goes.  That having been said, the forecast is still showing waves as big as those we have had in the last few days to continue through the weekend, albeit on low water levels.

In most places shingle is available lower down the beach to reinstate the crest.  The one exception is Sovereign Harbour where there is a substantial amount of rock revetment now exposed.  With the haul road along the beach washed away, it may be several days before it can be properly reinstated, but rest assured it will be repaired.

Update 4th February 2014

Assuming reasonable weather in the coming days and weeks (which may be unlikely…) it will take several weeks to get the beach back into something approaching its normal condition, so I’m afraid trucks will remain a common sight for some time to come

Although the highest tides in the part of the tidal cycle have passed, for the first time in this series, we are expecting a +0.4m storm surge on the 02:40 high water tomorrow morning.  Coupled with waves from due south of up to 3.5m, then it is highly likely we will see the worst conditions so far this winter.  Being southerly not much shingle will be lost (so it can be pushed up again afterwards) but some degree of overtopping is expected in places.

It is again likely that the Environment Agency will issue a Flood Alert for tonight’s tide. 

All machines will remain on the beach and will be ready to repair any resulting damage from 06:00 tomorrow morning

Update 1st February 2014

As far as I can tell, last night’s storm was the worst of those likely to be seen over the current series of spring tides.  Tonight may be similar, with lower waves, a slightly higher water level, but from the southwest rather than south as last night.  Hopefully this means waves will run up the beach no more than they did last night.

Two bulldozers will be working again on this evening’s low tide at Beachlands and Normans Bay East, with three working tomorrow morning

There is some respite with much lower waves tomorrow lunchtime, so we do not expect to work tomorrow evening.  All machines will be back working the early tide from Monday. 

There has been significant erosion to the crest almost everywhere, so some repairs are needed before the recycling team can head back to Cooden and start all over again.  As the famous quote goes: "It's like déjà vu all over again”

In a few weeks we should be back to normal, and it would be nice to think that the 8.0mCD tides in early March do not coincide with a series of storms.  It would make a change!

Update 30th January 2014

Given the type of winter we have had so far, it is no surprise to find that the next batch of stormy weather is to coincide with this weekend’s high spring tides.  The largest waves seem set to appear overnight from Friday into Saturday and although tides are high, they are not currently thought to be increased by a storm surge.  If anything it may be slightly negative.

The highest astronomical tides are in the early hours of Sunday and Monday mornings, by when waves will be smaller and hopefully from the southwest rather than the south.

It does seems likely that the Environment Agency will issue a Flood Alert for the coast over tomorrow night’s tide.

The beach is now largely repaired so is in good enough condition to withstand predicted storms for the next few days.  At the moment none of these is expected to be worse than anything we saw over New Year.  All the machines will remain on the beach and hence are available to react to any erosion as it occurs.  I expect work to be necessary on Saturday, and we will take a view then as whether work is required on Sunday as well.

Update 22nd January 2014

Five dump trucks continue to work moving shingle from Cooden to Beachlands and Herbrand Walk.  Although there is still beach to be recycled from Cooden, from tomorrow we will relocate to Normans Bay East and transport shingle through the village to 'White Horses' and Sovereign Harbour.  The reason for this is that everything already added near the harbour has already moved, exposing more of the buried revetment than should be the case and cliffing the remaining beach.

Generally we try to minimise removal of accreting beach from in front of properties, particularly Coast Road, Beachlands.  However so much shingle has built up in the region of The Kiosk that we do need to re-use some of it in the next week or so.  Nothing will be removed from the crest, which will not therefore be narrowed.  A bulldozer will push up from the beach toe to enhance the ridge that has been building in front of the crest.  Only this ridge will be removed.  This work will only last for 2-3 days.

Although tides are now falling, by the end of next week we are again back to 8.0m tides, so the recycling team could easily be changing location on a daily basis depending on what weather we receive at the time.  As and when I have any feel for what conditions might be like I will update you accordingly.

Update 13th January 2014

The recycling team has today moved down to Cooden to begin the job of moving shingle back to the west.  Initially beach will be delivered to Normans Bay East and Herbrand Walk, before we move on to Beachlands.

At the same time Mackley are undertaking groyne repairs, particularly where storms earlier this month damaged the wavescreen close to the unmanned level crossing at Herbrand Walk.  They will also move through the frontage removing damaged timber, loose sections and protruding bolts.  In one or two places, tops of piles will be removed (but only down to any planking that remains) so as to allow machines to move along the middle of the beach and reduce the amount of travelling along the crest when recycling.

Update 5th January 2014

Although there is still some gales and 2m+ waves to come on both Monday tides, water levels are now dropping off sufficiently to say that the risk of coastal flooding for the Bay has passed, so no machines will be working tonight.  In most places shingle lost from the beach crest has been drawn down to the toe of the beach.  In order to take advantage of what remains of the spring tides, on both Monday and Tuesday day we will work the morning tides so as to be able to access the beach toe for longer.  From Wednesday we expect to revert to 07:30 to 17:00 days.

Since the recycling team is at PBSC/'White Horses' they will remain there initially to continue reinstatement of the western end of the frontage.  Much of the material we moved from Cooden in November is now back there again, so it needs to be recovered and delivered to Herbrand Walk, Normans Bay East, Beachlands and Sovereign Harbour.  At present we have no schedule as to when each element will happen, but I will keep you updated as works progress.

Update 4th January 2014

We have at least now passed the highest astronomical tides for this particular spring tide cycle, and as far as we can see there are just two more tides to be concerned about.  Storm surges have been very low throughout (which has been of great benefit) but we do expect +0.35m at 01:20 tomorrow, which would mean the highest water level of the period.  By then winds will have moderated and waves are predicted to be a little over 1m.  If everything goes as expected, then this should pass without incident.

Before that we the next tide at 13:00 today.  This appears to be very similar to yesterday’s lunchtime high tide, with slightly lower water level and slightly smaller waves…but…coming from the south rather than 30° further west as it did on Friday.  Again, it is not expected to be significant enough for the Environment Agency to issue a full Flood Warning, but a further Flood Alert is being issued.

In view of this, machines will continue to work every tide until Sunday morning.  If forecasts remain as they are, then we expect to return to more normal work patterns from Monday.  I have no doubt it will take 3 or 4 weeks to get things back to roughly as they were before Christmas, and then of course we have to content with 7.9 – 8.0mCD tides between Friday 31 January and Monday 3 February

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: Sunday, October 5, 2014 18:05