Soft Enginnering

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This is England’s first sea defence organisation that is maintained as a public-private partnership (PPP).


It started on the 1 June 2000 with a 25 year contract and funding of £30 million. It involves the Environment Agency, HM treasury and Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd (PCDL), which is a consortium of private dredging, construction and consultancy companies. These companies work within guidelines issued by the DEFRA.


They stretch 9km east from Sovereign Harbour frontage, a marina and residential development on the outskirts of Eastbourne. They protect 50km2 of low lying land, over 15,000 properties, holiday caravan sites, the A25 coast road, the railway line from Hastings to Eastbourne, Brighton to Portsmouth, two nature reserves, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a variety of livestock and arable farms.



The defences centre on the need to manage and improve the existing shingle beach. PCDL has therefore based its management on working with the natural environment of the local sediment sub-cell. This management is aesthetically pleasing and environmentally acceptable. It is an example of sustainable management, which maximises opportunities for future generations and environmental projects.


The shingle beach stretches the length of the Pevensey Bay coast. It is 6 metres high and extended 45m in land. In front of the shingle is an area of low angle sandy beach exposed at low tide. Before management began, there were 150 timber groynes, most


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