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Southern comes to Seaford defence


I read with interest the article by Andrew Mylius on the Environment Agency's new approach to coastal flood defence at Pevensey, East Sussex. (NCE 24 January).

Just along the coast, Southern Water Authority completed the similar Seaford sea defence beach replenishment scheme in the late 1980s (NCE 20 August 1987).

Seaford is one of the most vulnerable of the south coast resorts and is directly exposed to the westerly winds and Atlantic swell running up the Channel. Huge waves breaking over the sea wall were a spectacular sight during winter gales. But the threat of flooding and damage to property in the low lying areas behind the sea wall prompted Southern Water to act.

In conjunction with the Hydraulics Research laboratories at Wallingford, it came up with scheme to form a 2.5km long, gently sloping beach in front of the battered Victorian sea wall.

The Dutch dredging contractor Zanen Verstoep used a suction dredger in a continuous round the clock operation to collect about 1.5Mm 3of shingle 24km off Littlehampton and shipped it back to Seaford. The vessel had to stand well offshore at low tide and pump each 7000m 3load onshore through an approximate 1,000m long pipeline.

The material was so abrasive that the casings and impellers from the two electrically driven pumps had to be changed every two to three weeks, instead of the normal two to three years, and cost the contractor £50,000 a time.

Rodney Byles, 9 Bracken Close, Farnham Common, Bucks SL2 3JP

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