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Eastbourne Beach management works
Why are the works necessary?
Eastbourne is no different to the rest of the English
Channel coast in having to deal with rising sea
levels, increased storminess and naturally eroding
beaches. Shingle is no longer being brought ashore
by the sea in sufficient quantity to naturally sustain
the beach, and flint released from eroding chalk
cliffs to the west is equally inadequate. In common
with many other parts of the country, the level of
protection afforded to Eastbourne is only
maintained by directly adding shingle to the beach
to replace material that is lost as it drifts eastward
along the coast.
Eastbourne’s Coast Protection Scheme saw the
placement of 780,000 m³ of shingle during 1998‐9.
Since then only minor shingle works have been
undertaken, with the result that the beach is now in
need of renourishment. Not only that, but shingle
has also been moving from west to east along the
seafront. A substantial amount now needs to be
moved westwards towards Holywell to reinforce
depleted groyne bays to the east of the Wish
Who is doing the work?
The contract for this work has been awarded to
Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd (PCDL), who have
successfully been maintaining Pevensey Bay’s
beaches for the last 10 years. Westminster
Dredging Company Ltd is part of the PCDL
consortium and will be undertaking most of the
work on PCDL’s behalf. They were also part of the
joint venture team that undertook the original
renourishment in 1998‐9. All works are being
managed by Eastbourne Borough Council’s
Engineering team.
What is involved?
Works will consist of two distinct operations;
Recycling and Renourishment.
Recycling involves re‐using shingle already on the
beach. Material from groyne bays in surfeit is
moved to others where there is a deficiency.
Excavators load surplus beach into dump trucks,
which then travel along the beach and tip the
shingle where it is needed. Bulldozers then push
the beach into its required position. Approximately
70,000 m³ of beach needs to be recycled.
Renourishment means importing shingle from
elsewhere. In this case aggregate will be dredged
from the sea bed and delivered to the beach by
trailing suction hopper dredger Prins der Nederlanden . She will
collect material from a licensed dredge area known
as Owers Bank, which is a little over 6 miles
offshore from Littlehampton. Dredging is
undertaken at low water so that Prins der Nederlanden can time
her arrival at Eastbourne to coincide with high
water. About 1km offshore she will connect to the
floating end of a temporary pipeline laid on the
seabed. Her cargo will be mixed with sea water and
then pumped ashore. Deliveries will be made every
high tide, seven days a week, until the necessary
quantity has been delivered.
Excavators will load much of the delivered shingle
into dump trucks so it can be moved to the precise
groyne bays where it is needed. This reclamation
will occur day and night and during weekends. The
use of beach machines will be minimised during
hours of darkness and on Sundays as far as is
practicable. Delivery through the pipeline will
create a degree of noise which cannot be avoided.
Approximately 200,000 m³ of sea‐dredged
aggregate needs to be delivered.
Recycling in operation
Dredger Prins der Nederlanden pumping sea dredged
aggregate ashore on a previous contract.
When will the work take place?
Work will start at the end of January.
Environmental restrictions mean that in
order to avoid possible damage to
Holywell Reef only recycled shingle can
be used at the western end of the
frontage. This means that shingle will be
dug from existing beaches near the Wish
Tower and delivered by dump trucks to
the groyne bays between the Wish Tower
and Holywell.
Removing shingle in this way creates
space into which sea dredged aggregates
can be delivered. The temporary pipeline
will first come ashore in the area of
groyne 76, opposite Princes Park at the
eastern end of Royal Parade. It will
subsequently be moved to near groyne
28 at the Wish Tower. The timing of this
move, as with all work, is dependent on
sea conditions prevailing at the time.
Both dredging and delivery operations
are affected by rough seas, which at this
time of the year are a distinct possibility,
and inevitably mean delays.
It is anticipated that work will be
completed in eight weeks, although
because it is being carried out at the end
of winter some disruption to the work
programme is to be expected.
How will the Works affect access?
When heavy plant is working on the
beach – either recycling existing beach or
moving sea‐dredged aggregate from the
pump‐head – it will be necessary to
restrict public access for safety reasons.
In general work is being programmed to
move from west to east, so as work
progresses completed sections of beach
can then be re‐opened to the public.
Throughout the works access will be
maintained along all promenades.
Please be watchful and make sure
that children, in particular, are
aware of the potential hazards
associated with the movement of
heavy machinery along the beach.
17 February, 2011

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