A COUNCIL has secured vital funding to help protect more than 2,000 homes from coastal erosion.

As a coastal protection authority, Worthing Borough Council commissioned work to combat rising sea levels, which are expected to go up by 0.3 metres over the next 50 years.

After a detailed consultation with the Environment Agency, residents and businesses, it was decided that replacing the existing wooden groynes, which date back to as early as 1804, with rock defences would not be cost-effective in the short term, although it is not being ruled out altogether.

Instead, it was agreed that the project would initially concentrate on repairing the existing wooden groynes and replenishing the shingle as part of a two-phase scheme between Ferring and Lancing before longer-term work begins.

More than 2,030 homes in Worthing, as well as a significant number of industrial and commercial businesses, are under threat from the risk of rising sea levels and coastal erosion.

The £1.9million project will concentrate on large scale repairs to the groynes and shingle replenishment at the town centre and the section of beach along the A259, Brighton Road, which are designed to ensure the defences are maintained for the next ten years.

As a result of the consultation, Worthing Borough Council will only contribute 10 per cent or £200,000 towards the cost of these repairs, with the remaining funding coming from the Environment Agency's flood and coastal erosion risk management grant.

The scheme will replace the existing groynes with sustainable materials, phase one is set to start in September 2023 and is expected to be completed by March 2024.

While phase two is a larger long-term project being led by the Environment Agency working with the council and will cost an estimated £40 million.

Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing's executive member for regeneration, said: "We are a coastal protection authority and have worked in partnership with the Environment Agency to find the best solution for the long-term benefit and safety of all our residents, businesses, as well as trying to protect our beautiful shoreline.

"Coastal erosion is a huge problem and one that is naturally very expensive to try to halt, or at least delay.

"Sea levels are expected to rise by 0.3 metres over the next 50 years, but by means of consultation with stakeholders and other agencies, it has been universally agreed that this is the best and most productive option that will ultimately save money for the taxpayer.

"Thanks to those discussions and consultation with the Environment Agency, Worthing Borough Council has managed to save money in the long-term, as well as ensuring our coastline gets the best possible protection to safeguard the future of all."

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