£1.8 million Fairlight Cove erosion project set to start

Fairlight Cove, August 2005. Picture by Justin Lycett. SUS-161108-140412001
Fairlight Cove, August 2005. Picture by Justin Lycett. SUS-161108-140412001

Work is set to begin on a major engineering project to protect a clifftop village in Rother from coastal erosion.

Contractors working on behalf of Rother District Council are constructing a 270m berm, or rock barrier, in front of the cliffs at Fairlight Cove.

The 12-week project will fill the gap between two existing protective berms and is aimed at controlling sea erosion which, along with erosion by the weather, wind and ground water, results in the loss of several metres of unprotected cliff each year.

The scheme is expected to cost around £1.8 million, the majority of which comes from the Environment Agency, and will be completed with 22,500 tonnes of Larvik granite delivered from Norway.

Deliveries of equipment and rock are due to begin from Monday, nearly all of which will be made by sea.

Cllr Ian Hollidge, RDC cabinet member for environment, transport and Bexhill town centre, said: “It’s not possible to prevent cliff erosion but a scheme of this nature will allow some degree of control over the rate at which erosion takes place.

“We need to act now to fill the gap between the two existing protective berms, to protect the toe of the cliffs from encroaching at the current rate.

“By arranging deliveries by sea, we can avoid the noise and disruption that would be caused by transporting heavy loads through the village.

“However, as deliveries can only be made at high tide, residents should be aware that these could be made at any time of the day or night.

“The contractors may also need to carry out construction work early in the morning or in the evening to take full advantage of the time available between tides, so that they can finish the project before the onset of autumn and the resultant deterioration in weather conditions.”

The scheme is being funded by a grant from the Environment Agency’s Flood Defence Grant in Aid, with an additional £75,000 each from Fairlight Preservation Trust and Fairlight Parish Council.

The berm has been designed by Canterbury City Council’s engineering services, working through the East Kent Engineering Partnership, and is being constructed by J.T. Mackley & Co Ltd.

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