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Waves overtopping the sea wall cause flooding at Yaverland

UK - Isle of Wight sea defence scheme groundwork under way

Part of a £55m coastal defence scheme has reached a milestone with the start of work to investigate the land around crumbling sea defences.

The Environment Agency has begun to drill boreholes and dig trenches at Yaverland, Isle of Wight.

It said it was investigating the terrain and existing foundations to enable new sea defences to be planned.

The site is one of four schemes to protect more than 3,700 homes and businesses on the island.

Similar work at Shanklin is due to start on Monday.

The agency said some existing coastal defences were in a poor condition.

Project officer Emily Gordon said: "A lot of these assets like at Shanklin were built during the Victorian period.

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"We need to make sure that the coastal defences continue to have investment because of the extreme weather conditions and potential for a 1m (3ft) rise in sea level over the next 100 years."

Isle of Wight councillor Jonathan Bacon, responsible for the environment, said: "It is really encouraging to see that the Environment Agency is beginning the process of ground investigations in Shanklin and Yaverland.

"Recent damage to the defences in Ventnor has illustrated the potential implications of deterioration of our sea defences.

"It is important that we progress this work as quickly as possible."

In November part of the promenade at Ventnor collapsed following storms and high tides.

In February 2022 the government said it had allocated £7m towards the £55m cost of coastal defence schemes at Shanklin, Ventnor, Yaverland and Embankment Road near Bembridge.

Ministers said the four projects would protect more than 3,700 homes and businesses as well as Brading Marshes nature reserve.

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