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Repairs to Long Groyne at Hengistbury Head will reduce coastal erosion

Repairs to the Long Groyne at Hengistbury Head – which plays a “critical role” in reducing coastal flooding and erosion – will start next month.

The work, due to finish by October, is being carried out by contractors VBA Joint Venture Ltd.

Unlike timber groyne renewals, which take place during the winter, the work will run over the summer because of the area’s special status as a protected area.

The beach will remain open during the project.

Work on the Long Groyne will last the summer
Work on the Long Groyne will last the summer

Repairs, which will involve reconstruction of some parts of the groyne, will provide new habitats for a range of species including the UK’s rarest amphibian, the Natterjack Toad.

They will benefit from specialised ponds which will be created within the Hengistrbury Head nature reserve.

Natural quarry stone from France and Norway, chosen for its density and durability, will be used to reconstruct the Long Groyne, with each piece weighing between six and 10 tonnes.

The stone will be shipped to the bay and delivered onto the beach using a smaller barge.

Made wider and 1.5 metres higher, the upgraded Long Groyne will remain at its current length of approximately 150 metres from the beach line.

Originally constructed in 1939, the groyne was surrounded by rocks in the late 80s. Further work was carried out on it in 1990s

The Valentine’s Day Storm of 2014 resulted in damage to, which was later rectified.

In 2019 an inspection revealed the groyne had several voids below the waterline and was at risk of collapsing in several areas.

Councillor Andy Hadley, portfolio for climate response, environment and energy, said: “The Long Groyne plays a significant role in reducing the risks of coastal flooding and erosion from the Purbecks to Hurst Spit, and it’s great to see the work starting on site.

“The current Long Groyne is life-expired and during storm events, is frequently submerged by sea waves, compromising its performance as a coastal defence structure.

“These works will ensure our coastline is more resilient to projected sea level rise and the increasing number of storm events predicted over the next 100 years.”

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