Medmerry Community Update from the Environment Agency December 2023
At the end of October the Environment Agency planned to spend a week recycling shingle from Cakeham Beach to the Medmerry frontage. Unfortunately, due to the storms and associated positive surge, the tides did not drop off sufficiently for the dumper trucks to safely move around the groynes, so frustratingly we had to stop this element of the works after just one day.
The following week brought large spring tides and Storm Ciaran, this caused a further groyne bay to 'roll back'. However it also had a positive impact in bringing more shingle to the frontage which is helping the beach to build up and develop naturally. The Environment Agency partners working in coastal monitoring undertook a drone survey immediately after this which is helping us to monitor how the beach is evolving.
Storms Babet and Ciaran in October brought large amounts of rain to Sussex. The Sussex coast recorded the wettest October on record (going back to 1891) with 239mm recorded over the month - this is 310% of the long term average for October. This extreme rainfall, tide locking due to high spring tides and a relatively flat slow draining catchment contributed to flood impacts seen in the caravan parks adjacent to Medmerry beach. The annual maintenance works on the Earnley Rife were completed in September and our operations team continue to be busy on the ground clearing blockages from watercourses, checking our assets are operating as expected and undertaking recovery works following the stormy weather.
The Environment Agency's current priority is to continue to focus on wider recovery activities following the storms, after which they will review the need for further shingle recycling at Medmerry. This would need to be carefully timed around the largest spring tides in the New Year. They will also return to the beach to remove the redundant groyne structures. The Agency will continue to undertake regular surveys and monitoring of the beach and will keep you updated through Selsey Town Council on next steps.