A new £45m coastal defence scheme will help protect the seaside town of Shoreham from flooding.
The UK’s Environment Agency (EA) opened over 7km of new river and sea defences in the town on Friday, intended to protect the local community from flooding due to storms and rising sea levels.
The flood defence scheme will help preserve over 2,300 homes and 169 commercial properties, as well as important local infrastructures such as the road network, railway line and Shoreham Airport, the EA said.
The agency said the majority of the project has been funded by a £37.4m government grant, alongside contributions from local enterprise partnership (LEP) Coast to Capital, West Sussex County Council, and a number of developers through Adur District Council.
The new scheme spans 7,200m along the banks of the river Adur with 1.8km of new defences on the east bank between Coronation Green and the A27 road bridge, and 5.4km on the west bank between the river mouth and the A27 road bridge.
The defences include embankments, sheet pile walls, rock revetments, flood glass and property level protection made up of over 15,000 bricks, 800 square metres of concrete and 6,845 tonnes of rock, the EA said.
It added that as part of the project, public footpaths along the route of the defences have also been improved.
According to the agency, Shoreham’s old flood defences, which varied in height, were “coming to the end of their design life”. However, the new ones are designed to last for up to 100 years, and can be raised to add even greater protection in the future.
Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the EA, said: “This new scheme represents a remarkable feat of engineering which will see Shoreham better protected from flooding over the course of the next century.
“The Environment Agency has worked closely with partners and the local community to build and upgrade 7km of new and existing flood walls, embankments and other defences, bringing greater peace of mind to thousands of homeowners and well over one hundred businesses in the local area.”