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Hurst Spit £300k coastal defence project - Guardian of the western Solent

The latest stage of beach management for an important local landmark and coastal defence has been given the go-ahead this week by New Forest District Councillor Sophie Beeton, Portfolio Holder for the Environment, when she agreed that officers can apply for allocated Environment Agency funding of £300,000.

Hurst spit Hurst Spit is an historic natural beach feature which extends 2.5km from Milford-on-Sea. towards the Isle of Wight into the Solent.   The money, if the application is successful, will be used to carry out a study to understand the viability of a recharge of beach materials, and to assess any environmental impacts.  

Back in 1996, after major storms, coast protection works were done which saw 300,000 cubic metres of beach material and 125,000 tonnes of rock used to stabilise the spit. But extreme storms in the winters of 2013 and 2014 resulted in serious damage and loss of beach material and the spit is now in need of a 'recharge' of materials with proposals to add another 150,000 cubic metres of beach material within the next five years. 

Steve Cook, Coastal Service Manager, said, "The spit at Hurst is a well-known and important key feature of our coastline that provides protection by reducing the risk of damage to properties by flooding.  It also shelters the environmentally important salt marshes and mud flats.  This funding will mean that the 'Guardian of the Western Solent' can continue to provide protection from coastal erosion and flood risk in the future".

As well as a coastal defence, the spit is a popular destination for tourism and recreation, and home to Hurst Castle.  

The coastal team will conduct a series of studies to identify the economic benefits and environmental impacts of the recharge, including public consultation.   A decision on the funding is expected by November. 

Updated: 20 Sep 2017
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