Shingle beach is best defence

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I feel I should respond to Mr Bohru’s letter (Herald, March 11) referring to the ongoing beach recharge.

I do so having been involved with the original reconstruction of the coastal protection 1995-2000. In that scheme, designed after some years of investigation and consideration of options, new, bigger, groynes were constructed and some one million tonnes extra shingle, dredged from licensed areas near the Isle of Wight, were distributed by pumping ashore.

Your readers will be aware that the groyne field is there to slow down the natural process of drift from west to east along our frontage. Thus, the scheme, whilst designed for a 50 year life and with climate change in mind, requires three recharges of beach ever 10 years or so. This is what is happening now, and the material is sourced as before.

So, far from being a desecration, it is an upkeep and maintenance operation.

A shingle beach of adequate size is the best coastal defence available, and it is not a waste of money to maintain the design profile against possible storm conditions.

As to costs, being now retired, I can only hazard a guess at, say, £3m. The original scheme costs in 2000 were some £31m of which over 75 per cent was paid by government grant and other contributions.

Brian Waters

Huggetts Lane