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Councillors discuss erosion and flood risks in Selsey

Leading councillors discussed the flood and erosion risks in Selsey at a Cabinet meeting at Chichester District Council on Tuesday 10 October.

Preliminary work has provided information on the potential risks to the exposed Selsey peninsula, which has a long history of coastal flood and erosion risk.

Many of the seawalls, which were constructed in the 1950s, are reaching the end of their design life and due to the sea level rise – caused by climate change – the level of protection provided by the existing defences will decrease over time.

Early feasibility work has identified the need to look at options for future sea defences and this work is being led by officers at Coastal Partners. Further work will involve building a detailed business case for the Environment Agency – the organisation that considers funding for new sea defences – through an application and bid process. This will be reviewed and discussed by cabinet members in the new year.

Chichester District Council is one of five local authorities along the south coast which has joined together to form Coastal Partners. This is a team of engineers, surveyors, project managers, environment and finance experts who centrally deliver a coastal management service across Chichester and 246 km of connected coastline.

“The work that we are doing through our coastal management service, Coastal Partners, is vital in helping to inform us of the risks and options relating to the sea defences at Selsey,” says Cllr Jonathan Brown, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environmental Strategy at Chichester District Council.

“We’re seeing more extreme weather events, which could impact on our sea defences and increase the risk of flooding, which is why it is so important that we are all able to plan and prepare. Managing future coastal flooding and erosion is a key priority.

Coastal defences

“The coastal defences for Selsey involve a number of elements, including seawalls, rock revetments, groynes and beach. Over the last decade the council has undertaken a very successful programme of beach management through shingle replenishment, and Environment Agency funding is currently in place to continue these works until March 2026. We plan to approach the Environment Agency for further funding so that we can continue with this work, until a future solution is agreed upon.

“The preliminary work we have already carried out has enabled us to update our plans to show how we would respond in different scenarios, including detailing the roles and responsibilities of the different partners and landowners involved. Working with the residents of Selsey will be a key part of this, including making sure that they are well informed of the risks and how to respond in an emergency.”

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