A virtual opening ceremony today, Friday 26 March marked the official opening of the Hythe Ranges sea defences scheme between Dymchurch Redoubt and Fisherman’s Beach.

With the scheme’s completion, 787 properties are now better protected from tidal flooding for the next 100 years, taking into account climate change and sea level rise.

The improved standard of flood protection will help protect the coast against a flood event with a 0.5%, or 1 in 200 chance of occurring in any year. Before the scheme there was a 5% or 1 in 20 chance of flooding in any year.

Also better protected with the scheme’s completion is the Ministry of Defence (MoD) firing ranges that provide a critical resource for the army and the country’s security.

The Hythe Ranges scheme represents a £25m investment, delivered in partnership with the MoD.

The event was officially opened by Dr Martin Hurst, Chair of the Southern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (SRFCC).

Guests at the virtual ceremony included constituency MP Damian Collins, Environment Agency Chair, Emma Howard Boyd, representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Kent County Council, Folkestone and Hythe District Council and construction partners that worked on the scheme.

The ceremony included the first public viewing of a video about the scheme and its construction. The video can be viewed on the Environment Agency’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/O80nQ0YDNg4

Work started in spring 2020 and was successfully and safely completed during the Covid-19 restrictions. Due to the rigorous health and safety measures applied, the site did not have a single positive test of Covid-19.

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The works involved:

· Refurbishment and raising of 30 timber groynes

· Construction of a 200m rock revetment made from 37,000 tonnes of imported Norwegian granite

· Recharging the shingle beach with over 300,000 cubic metres of material.

This work to the beach and groynes will reduce the risk of flooding from the sea. The rock revetment helps shield the Grand Redoubt and merges with the existing Dymchurch seafront.

A number of environmental features were introduced as part of the scheme such as the creation of over 70 rock pools in the rock revetment. Benches made from recycled wood and an information board have also been installed on the Dymchurch promenade for the public to enjoy.

By Ed

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