Prior to WWII there was very little development along the Eastoke front. Shortly after the war, residential houses were built, and this led to the first sea defences being put in to protect the properties and maintain the beach for convenience use.
During the 1950s and 1960s a concrete seawall was constructed. It ran from Eastoke Corner to the Eastoke Point nature reserve and it helped to maintain the coastline and prevent coastal erosion. The seawall required regular maintenance from the start and in addition, increased overtopping of the concrete seawall and waves at the base of the wall led to lowering beach levels.
Following several significant storm events in the 1970s and early 1980s, the decision was taken to undertake a large beach recharge as an effective solution. This created a shingle beach with a high crest level in front of the seawall, providing a 1:200-year standard of protection to the properties behind. The seawall was buried beneath the new beach, which has remained in place since the works in 1985 by undertaking bi-annual beach recycling and recharge events.
The shingle beach bears the brunt of storm events, dissipating wave energy, which reduces the risk of flooding, but can also cause the loss of the shingle to the waves carrying it away. Beach management works then restore the beach material to form the defences once again. These works help to safeguard the beach at Eastoke, which would be lost if the beach management were replaced with hard coastal defences (e.g. rock).
Currently, the preferred option for work on Hayling Island has successfully managed flood risk since 1985 without the need for more significant hard defences. It is carried out under a nationally recognised Beach Management Plan.
How the works are decided
Beach Management Plans are produced every 5 years to allow the Local Authority to request funding. Prior to this being agreed, shortlisting of various coastal defence options is carried out. This helps to determine – based on several factors including financial, economic, environmental, sustainability – the preferred method for protecting the coastline.
Beach management through recycling and recharge was identified as the most effective and sustainable form of coastal defence for the existing Beach Management Plan.
This process will be carried out prior to each Beach Management Plan to determine which solutions are preferred for the following five-year period.
How the works are funded
Beach management activities on Hayling Island are funded entirely by Flood Defence Grant in Aid from the Environment Agency. This funding allows for the beach management works to continue as well as paying for ongoing research and analysis of the performance of the beach and future designs for the coastline. Current funding runs from 2017 until 2024, and as well as funding all beach works and staff time for the project, it has allowed us to undertake the following studies:
- Sediment tracer studies (ongoing)
- Sediment sampling
- Ebb tidal study (to commence in 2021)
- Eastoke Drainage study (ongoing)
Hayling Island Coastal Management Strategy
Alongside the Beach Management Plan, Coastal Partners are undertaking the Hayling Island Coastal Management Strategy. In order to manage the risk of climate change and rising sea levels to the Hayling Island community, a strategy is under development for the Hayling Island coastline. The Strategy aims to:
- Develop strategic coastal management options for Hayling Island over the next 100 years;
- Outline a programme of investment to reduce the risk of coastal flooding and erosion to people living on the island;
- Identify the potential funding sources and partners required to deliver the investment programme, and be open and honest about where funding is likely to be a challenge;
- Incorporate adaptation strategies, as defence improvements will not be possible in all locations;
- Be holistic, yet flexible for both people and nature;
- Respond to future changes, support sustainable development of the island and consider predicted sea level rise and climate change;
- Make a partnership approach central between HBC, EA, Natural England (NE), landowners, businesses and local communities, making sure local needs and priorities are at its core.
The next Beach Management Plan will tie in with the completion of the Hayling Island Strategy, to ensure that coastal policy and management are aligned.