Solent Protection Society have been engaged as a public stakeholder in several of the Solent’s coastal sea defence enhancement schemes as part of our watching brief over the preparations to confront the inevitable impact of climate change on the region.
Low lying Portsea Island lies at the heart of the City of Portsmouth and with significant historical building assets and a population in excess of 200,000, the engineering effort required to protect the city is immense. The work has been driven by the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership, recently rebranded as Coastal Partners , who have been managing an extensive programme of engagements with the wide variety of local stakeholder groups involved.
With our background in coastal engineering and marine sciences, the members of the SPS Council understand that on a rough 80:20 rule, the bulk of the work involved is coastal engineering. However at times some of the public stakeholders appear to expect the greater part of the focus to be on maintaining and enhancing the fabric of the historic assets. The Coastal Partners team have approached this stakeholder management task to good effect with notable effort and commendable patience. The decision whether to adopt a policy of managing natural re-alignment of the coastline or one of actively ‘holding the line’ is always going to court local controversy approaches’. However, when a hold the line policy is the only option, as in the case of Portsea Island, the need to literally raise the level of the sea defences inevitably leads to protests from groups who feel that the value of sea views and property is being compromised.
Coastal Partners have secured central government funding for the engineering side of the Southsea Coastal Scheme, with Historic England and Portsmouth City Council contributing to the funding and management of the more publicly visible assets. In parallel with the coastal engineering work, the city council’s Seafront Masterplan is available for public consultation until October 30.