East Head – The Current Position

Posted on 01 Apr 2008

East Head survived the storms of February and March this year in relatively good condition. The beach recharge, undertaken in 2005, at the main point of erosion at the Neck and Hinge of the feature, did not take the full brunt of the storm or the tidal surge, about 1 metre above the predicted high tide, and it stood up well. The long term management of East Head is still being considered as part of the Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy. The Strategy is due out for public consultation at the end of May and it is not, therefore, possible to give the detailed proposals contained in it at this stage.

Over the last year a Working Group consisting of the regulators (Environment Agency, Chichester District Council and Natural England) and the key stakeholders (locally elected bodies, landowners, funders and the Harbour Conservancy) has been working to develop an agreed Strategy at East Head for the next 100 years.

The aim of the Strategy at East Head will be to preserve the social, economic, environmental and amenity value of the feature for the life of the strategy. The Working Group has been developing an ‘Adaptive Management’ approach involving monitoring the feature and responding to changes with a suite of measures to preserve that value. These may include further beach recharges, the insertion of a barrier sill to prevent a catastrophic breach and the management of existing sea defences. The emphasis will be on preserving the current value of East Head to the wider harbour community and not necessarily trying to lock it into its present size, shape and orientation.

It is most unlikely that any government funding will be available for the strategy at East Head and its implementation will depend upon private funding. It will be important, therefore, that the public accept it and, to this end, the Chichester Harbour Conservancy has resolved to support the Strategy for East Head.

John Davis Manager & Harbour Master Chichester Conservancy