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Questions to Ian Thomas, Project Manager, Pevensey Coastal Defence

As part of her blog this week, District Councillor Dianne Dear (who is also the publisher of Bay Life and  the Pevensey Bay Journal) asked, Ian Thomas, Project Manager  of Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd a series of questions. Here we publish her questions, together with his answers.

Hello Ian

We are doing a feature on Pevensey Bay sea defences for Pevensey Bay life and the Pevensey Bay journal Could you give us an up to date format on the sustainability other than what’s on the website and what to expect after the contract finishes please. Could you also let us know about the possibility of plastic groynes being put in along the Bay

Kind regards
Dianne Dear

Hello Dianne

To answer your questions;

  1. Sustainability.  I’m not sure exactly what you mean, but our position with sustainability hasn’t really changed.  All our operations are very similar and involve moving shingle from A to B or C to B.  In doing so we burn fuel in machines/dredgers. There is no packaging, no manufacture of anything off site so carbon generation is almost entirely from machines on the beach.  The office in the Environment Agency depot is the only other source, and this amounts to much less than 1% of the overall total.
  2. What will happen after 2025 is primarily up to the Environment Agency/Defra.  As such, in my view, it is most likely to be a political decision.  Therefore it will depend which flavour of government we have at the time.  As there are six years to go until the end of the current contract, that means there will be at least one more election between then – maybe more given the way Brexit is going.  Realistically I don’t see anyone in Defra looking at it seriously before 2022/3, but that is just my view – I could be wrong
  3. Of the original 150 timber groynes, we are only maintaining about 8.  These were either improved or rebuilt in 2000-2002, so consequently should not need much doing to them for a few year yet.  The two-tier timber wall close to Herbrand Walk level crossing (east of The Star pub) rotted because it faces north and does not get direct sun, and is in the low point in that area, so was perpetually wet.  This has been replaced by planking made of recycled polymers/plastic.  There are a few other places where small amounts of similar material have been used alongside, and these have been done in conjunction with the Environment Agency as research into how different materials compare.  There are no plans for large scale use of plastic planks on the beach.  In any case, as the defences will ultimately be handed back to the Agency any decision to use plastic in future would have to be approved by the Agency

Kind regards

Ian Thomas
Project Manager
Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd