Lincshore, the flagship scheme to reduce flood risk to thousands of homes and businesses on Lincolnshire’s coast got underway at Boygrift last week.
This year’s campaign will cost £8.4 million, an increase of £2.4 million on the usual £6 million.
Extra money has been needed this year because repairs have also taken place to sand dunes damaged by December’s tidal surge.
Mark Adams, coastal engineer, said: “December’s tidal surge reminded us that if defences along the beaches which rely on Lincshore failed, tens of thousands of homes and businesses would be at severe risk of flooding.
“The scheme did what it was supposed to do against a surge higher than that experienced in 1953. It held up well and protected thousands of properties on the Lincolnshire coast as well as a number of important environmental sites.”
Lincshore began in 1994 and covers beaches between Mablethorpe and Skegness. The scheme maintains protection against a one in 200 year tidal flood (0.5 per cent) for 30,000 properties and 35,000 hectares of land.
Lincshore works by increasing the level of the beach to reduce the risk of waves reaching the maindefences and going over the seawalls. It protects the clay foreshore against further erosion and prevents rapid deterioration of the defences.
The Environment Agency scheme also benefits tourism – without it, Lincolnshire’s beaches would be reduced to their clay base.
Mark added: “We time our works to minimise disruption to local communities and visitors but unfortunately some inconvenience is unavoidable as we will need to close off sections of beach while we work on them to keep people safe.
“Lincshore maintains a vital part of Lincolshire’s coastal flood defences and we hope people understand why we need to carry out this work at this time of year.”
The scheme will see 520,000m³ cubic metres of sand pumped from licensed off-shore sites onto20km of beach including Boygrift, Trusthorpe, Sutton on Sea, Chapel Six Marshes, Ingoldmells, Trunch Lane, Huttoft and Moggs Eye.
The dredger Breughel, which was named after the famous Belgian Northern Renaissance painter is being used. It has a hopper capacity of 11,650 cubic metres and can carry 18,710 tonnes of sand.
It has a 1,200mm dredging pipe and can dredge at depths down to 43 metres. It also has the lowest carbon footprint in its class.
The Environment Agency is currently reviewing how the risk of coastal flooding and erosion between Saltfleet and Gibraltar Point will continue to be managed in future.
By working with partners, local communities and businesses, the review will consider a range of options including beach nourishment and installing groynes before it identifies a preferred approach.
Lincshore offers the coast an excellent standard of protection but people living and working in coastal communities should take steps to ensure they know what to do in an emergency.
To find out more, contact Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk.