Hartlepool sea defences to benefit from £9.6m improvements

PROTECTION: Coun Marjorie James and Coun Jim Ainslie, of Headland & Harbour ward, beside one of the lengths of sea wall which will be reinforced
PROTECTION: Coun Marjorie James and Coun Jim Ainslie, of Headland & Harbour ward, beside one of the lengths of sea wall which will be reinforced

Work on the next phase of a project to strengthen sea defences in Hartlepool against erosion and flooding will begin this month.

The work on the Headland will cost £9.6m and will be funded by organisations including the Environment Agency and Hartlepool Borough Council.

Using the latest computer modelling techniques these sea defences have been designed to withstand the most severe storms and to last for over 100 years.

The reinforcements, designed by the council’s engineering section, will include new concrete block facing on the existing seawall from the Heugh Gun Battery to the far end of Marine Drive, while rock armour will be added to the base of the wall.

Councillor Marjorie James, chair of the council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, said: “Rising sea levels and coastal erosion are a serious threat along Britain’s coastline and ensuring that Hartlepool is properly protected is a key priority for the council.

“Using the latest computer modelling techniques these sea defences have been designed to withstand the most severe storms and to last for over 100 years.

“They will safeguard more than 500 homes as well as a number of business premises.”

The work will also include additional protection to the seawall from the Pilot Pier to the Heugh Breakwater in the form of concrete blocks at the base of the wall, arranged to absorb wave impact.

Work will only be carried out between March and September, until 2020, to protect the wild birds that feed along the coastline during winter.

Phil Welton, the Environment Agency’s flood and coastal risk manager, added: “In 2012, the Government announced an additional £120m to accelerate flood and coastal schemes that were in our capital programme.

“We recognised the Headland scheme as a priority as it’s such an important scheme for the local community and so we immediately earmarked some of the additional funding to help get this project delivered more quickly.

“We are really pleased to see how the project has been developed and we are confident that Hartlepool council has created a robust solution that will protect the Headland from the North Sea well into the future.”

The promenade will be kept open as much as possible during the work to keep disruption to a minimum. For more information about the project, contact Kieran Bostock, the council’s principal engineer, on (01429) 284291.