Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Strategy Enhancing the Lincolnshire Coast

Closes 31 Dec 2024

Opened 11 Mar 2021


The Environment Agency is working to reduce flood risk to 20,000 residential homes, 1,700 businesses, 24,500 static caravans, 35,000 hectares of farmland and a bustling tourist industry.

The Lincolnshire coastal flood plain has a long history of flooding from the sea and many forms of defence are now in place including sand dunes, seawalls, rock/timber structures and beaches.

Just over 45,000 people live within the Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Strategy area and each year a further 2.7 million people visit the area generating almost £500 million annually for the Lincolnshire coastal economy. Our flood risk management work in this area is vital for the continued success of Lincolnshire’s coastal communities, its bustling tourism industry, and its strong agricultural sector.

As climate change predictions become reality, it is crucial that we consider and plan for the effects of severe weather and sea level rise throughout our work. We regularly review our flood risk management strategies and plans to ensure we continue to provide a sustainable and affordable future for all.

By restoring beach levels lost over the year, the Environment Agency protects its engineered sea defences from the impact of waves and tides. The coastline between Mablethorpe and Skegness has benefitted from beach nourishment, the present flood risk management approach, since 1994.


Project newsletter

Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point - July 2023 Newsletter

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About the Strategy

Over the last 29 years, we have nourished the beaches in Lincolnshire between Mablethorpe and Skegness with sand to provide a wider defence which reduces the impact of wave action and tides, in combination with the existing hard and soft flood defences. This nourishment is carried out in combination with a routine maintenance programme for the hard sea defences.

This work has proved very successful in managing tidal flood risk for Lincolnshire. However, our estimates suggest it will not be sustainable to continue with this method of flood risk management in the future due to the increased levels and frequency of sand that would be associated with the effect of climate change.

Our strategy for the next 100 years is adaptable to a changing climate which will enableus to continue to provide and maintain coastal sea defences with healthy beaches for the enjoyment, wellbeing and prosperity of people visiting, working, and living in Lincolnshire.

The strategy sets out a plan to change the management regime, in combination with continued beach nourishment, to form a sustainable flood risk management approach for the next 100 years.

Moving to the new approach will be a gradual process over many years whilst further information is gathered to help with the detailed appraisal of the management options. During this transition period, the existing practice of beach nourishment will continue alongside maintenance of the sea walls and drainage outfalls.

Beach management for 2021-2024 will continue to provide great benefit for people, property, land, and the environment by managing the risk of flooding from the sea. This work will include routine maintenance and investigations.

Who is involved?

The Environment Agency is working with contractor Van Oord to deliver the beach management programme 2021 - 2024.

What are we doing?

Working together with our contactor Van Oord this will be the third year of works under the new long-term strategy for the Lincolnshire Coastline from Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point. Through this strategy we aim to create a better place for you, for future generations and the environment.

Each year beach nourishment works will usually start between Easter and the summer holidays. We will nourish the beach between Mablethorpe and Skegness.

A dredger will transport 400,000 cubic metres of sand from licensed offshore sites and pump it onto the beach. Our contractor will then move the sand into the right beach profile using bulldozers and excavators. This work will replace sand lost to erosion, reduce wave impact during storms and protect the sea defences from damage.

Before the works can start, our contractor will need to deliver machinery and equipment to the beach at Huttoft. This will be carried out using a direct access route to the beach at Moggs Eye, minimising disruption to the local road network.

We understand and appreciate that this area is popular with local community and tourists. Therefore, we have chosen to complete the beach nourishment work in the spring before the busy summer season.

More Information

For safety reasons, when work is taking place, sections of the beach will be closed to the public for short periods of time. We will only close the sections of the beach we are working in. Please observe beach closure signs, be careful with children, exercise caution with dogs and keep pets on a lead.

Throughout the Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point beach management programme, our contractor Van Oord are also carrying out some asset refurbishment work, surveys and investigation work.

Where is the project area?

The beaches will be nourished in locations between Mablethorpe and Skegness. We make every effort to avoid working during the school holidays subject to any delays.

We work around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week between Easter and the summer holidays.

The beach nourishment happens every year and takes approximately 6-8 weeks depending on the weather conditions.

The beach nourishment normally takes place at:

  • Mablethorpe
  • Trusthorpe & Sutton on Sea
  • Boygrift
  • Huttoft & Moggs Eye
  • Wollabank & Chapel-six-marshes
  • Chapel Point
  • Trunch Lane & Vickers Point
  • Ingoldmells

Map displaying the project area

Other works

In the drop downs below are details and information about other works that form part of the Strategy.

More Information

As part of the beach management programme we are carrying out maintenance work to the splash deck in Skegness.

Our contractor Van Oord carried out some testing work to the splash deck in , which the spring included taking samples from some of the joints in the sea wall.

The maintenance work will include repairs to the splash deck, joint repairs, concrete repairs and any other necessary repairs or maintenance work we identify whilst we are in the area.

To carry out these works safely our contractor will need to use a small section of the North End car park to create a compound area for materials and welfare facilities.

This work will be carried out in sections and there will be a diversion in place for public access. The Coastal Path will remain open.

This maintenance work is due to be completed in December 2023.

More Information

We have successfully installed 6 radar stations along the coastline between Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point. They are located at:

  • Gibraltar Point Visitor Centre
  • Skegness Festival Car Park
  • Ingoldmells main drain
  • Anderby Creek
  • Trusthorpe Woldgrift drain.
  • Great Eau Outfall

The radar columns are tall posts with a radar unit at the top which points towards the beach. The radar stations will allow us to carry out continuous monitoring of the movement of sand. This information will help us plan our beach management regime and emergency response. This information will also be used to help inform the long-term strategy for the Lincolnshire coastline. You can read more here.

Radar monitoring work

Why is the project needed?

The Environment Agency is working to reduce flood risk to 20,000 residential homes. 1,700 businesses, 24,500 static caravans, 35,000 hectares of farmland and a bustling tourist industry.

The Lincolnshire coastal flood plain has a long history of flooding from the sea and many forms of defence are now in place including sand dunes, seawalls, rock/timber structures and beaches.

By restoring beach levels lost over the year, the Environment Agency protects its engineered sea defences from the impact of waves and tides. The coastline between Mablethorpe and Skegness has benefitted from beach nourishment, the present flood risk management approach, since 1994.

Without beach nourishment, there would be little sand left on the beaches. The sand plays a vital part in protecting the defences. Without this protection, there would be an increased chance of the defence becoming breached during stormy weather. A large area of land behind the defences is at or below mean high water springs sea level and such breaches would be devasting for homes, businesses and agriculture.

The sandy beaches not only help to protect and preserve the defences but also provide an ideal attraction for tourists visiting the area.

Since sand nourishment began on this stretch in the 90s, the east coast has experienced surges greater than those seen in 1953. Due to improved defences and annual sand nourishment work we have not witnessed the same impacts.

How does beach nourishment work?

Beach nourishment is a term used to explain replacing the sand on the beach that is lost through natural processes during the previous year.

  • We carry out a survey before works begin, to calculate how much sand needs to be replaced following winter storms.
  • The two 630m long steel pipelines (which is called the sinker line), which are buried in the sand during the winter, is excavated. These are positioned in key locations along the beach.
  • A trailing suction hopper dredger heads out to licensed offshore and collects sand from the seabed.
  • Twice a day, just before high tide reaches its peak, the dredger moves closer to the shoreline and connects to the sinker line.
  • The dredger then pumps the collected sand through the pipeline directly onto the beach.
  • We use bull dozers and excavators to move the sand to where it’s needed. This rebuilds the profile of the beach, replacing sand lost to erosion. Increasing the volume of sand helps protect the sea defences from wave action and reduces overtopping in extreme events.

We work around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week usually between Easter and the summer holidays.

What are the Strategy objectives?

The Strategy team have worked together to develop 5 project objectives we hope to achieve through this Strategy. These are:

  • To deliver the most appropriate and sustainable management approach for the next 100+ years.

  • To maintain the standard of protection at 0.5% (1 in 200 years) for people and properties.

  • To minimise the coastal flood risk within the low-lying floodplain and the coastal frontage.

  • Ensuring that people are aware of the risk of flooding and know what to do in an emergency.

  • Continue to manage coastal flood risk and ensure that the Lincolnshire coast remains a sustainable and prosperous place to live.

Beach management programme timeline 2023/2023

Below is a timeline of how the beach management programme will progress over the next 12 months. Timings can vary due to weather restrictions.

Project timeline

How are we engaging with our stakeholders?

We have launched a new way of engaging with the public called Hello Lamp Post. We will continue to engage with our stakeholders in ways they are used to.

We are committed to keeping the local community and our stakeholders consulted, informed, and engaged throughout.

We want to keep stakeholders involved and give them the opportunity to be involved in the implementation of future flood risk protection and possible enhancements.

We will work with our stakeholders to adapt the strategy to develop and incorporate opportunities.

Hello Lamp Post offers a two-way communication at all times to discuss the Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Strategy and Beach Nourishment Works.

We have put signs up with QR codes all along the Lincolnshire Coast between Mablethorpe and Skegness which can be scanned with your mobile phone to start a conversation with a chat bot. We also have a link to a conversation which can be found below.

Hello Lamp Post

Hello Lamp Post

The signs have been put up in 26 locations along the coast including:

  • Northern Beach Huts
  • Beach Bar
  • Sutton Colonnade
  • South Beach Huts

Hello Lamp Post provides us the statistics and can tell us whether people:

  • Are residents or tourists.
  • Are signed up to flood warnings.
  • Know there is a flood risk here.

Each year during the beach management programme we use our public information unit to engage with the public. The public information unit acts as a hub to meet people and has lots of information about the Strategy and the beach management programme; how it works, why we do what we do, along with some history of the area. The public information unit moves along the splash deck as the work progresses and is open all day for everyone to go in and have a look. There is also an opportunity for the public to leave feedback about the work we are carrying out.

There are many ways you can keep up to date with the Strategy;

  • Use the Hello Lamp Post signage to find out more about the coastline
  • This website will be kept up to date with regular updates and our next steps.
  • We have a frequently asked questions document (link below).
  • We produce a project newsletter (link below) at key milestones and if you would like to be added to the newsletter email circulation list, please let us know by emailing us via the project email address below.

Lincolnshire coast timeline

A large area of land behind the defences is at or below mean high water springs sea level. Since the 1953 floods, major investment continues to improve and maintain these sea defences between Mablethorpe and Skegness. Hard defences (seawalls) and natural sand dunes, in combination with beach nourishment provide a wide defence to manage coastal flood risk.

Up until the early 90s, Lincolnshire’s beaches were subject to natural erosion, exposing sea defences and the supporting clay layer underneath. Without sand to act as a natural buffer and to take energy out of the waves, the risk of defences being breached was increased.

In 1991 the county’s first coastal management plan was approved with a beach nourishment programme, known as ‘Lincshore’. Since its launch in 1994, the scheme, now known as the Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Beach Management Scheme, has helped the Environment Agency maintain healthy beach levels.

More Information

Floods caused devastation across the east coast. 307 people lost their lives, 42 in Lincolnshire. Following this new Sea Defenses began to be installed.

More Information

Further surges continue along the coast. Each time, the beach is stripped of sand exposing defences. Between 1984 and 1997, 70% of the defences between Mablethorpe and Skegness were upgraded.

More Information

Beach nourishment begins – rebuilding the beaches is completed by 1998. Annual nourishment continues to this day to maintain the beach levels.

More Information

A storm surge, larger than 1953, hits the east coast. The defences work well and protect thousands of properties. Following the surge, we repaired damaged defences.

More Information

The first workshops with partners and the public are held for the new Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Strategy.

More Information

The draft Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Strategy is published for consultation.

More Information

The Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Strategy is approved for long term protection.

More Information

The Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Strategy begins with the investigations, surveys and modelling and design of future schemes. Whilst this is completed the beach nourishment works will continue to take place between Mablethorpe and Skegness to maintain the defences.


More Information

The ‘Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)’ is being undertaken alongside the development of the strategy. This process ensures that we identify environmental considerations and where possible, seek to avoid negative effects and maximise potential benefits.  You can view the Strategic Environmental Assessment by using the link below.

The key stages of the Strategic Environmental Assessment are:

Identifying a baseline: We looked at features that could be affected, either positively or negatively, by the Strategy, now or in the future.

Scoping the assessment: We identified the ‘scope’ of the assessment – i.e. features we must consider.

Influencing option selection: As the Strategy develops, we will consider the range of options proposed using our environmental objectives and criteria. This, together with the consultation feedback, will help us identify the preferred options within the strategy.

Assessment of the strategy: We undertook a final assessment of the strategy proposals where we identified potential effects. Where significant negative effects are predicted, we will recommend actions to mitigate and monitor these effects. The results of this assessment is presented in an Environmental Report  issued in 2020.

Implementation: Strategy was approved in 2020 and implementation started in 2021. Any schemes or works arising will require further detailed assessment. In addition, we will monitor the predicted effects of the strategy, to inform how best to implement the works recommended.

Protecting the environment: Lincolnshire is home to an array of valuable habitats and species, wonderful landscapes and seascapes, and sites of geological, archaeological and heritage interest. It is vital that these and other important features are protected, and where possible enhanced.

To ensure this, a full assessment of the likely effects (both positive and negative) of the Strategy on the population and environment was carried out.

This process is referred to as ‘Strategic Environmental Assessment’ (SEA) which was undertaken alongside the development of the Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Strategy.

We are working in line with our aim to achieve net zero carbon by 2030.

The implementation of the Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point strategy will involve working with nature to provide a more sustainable approach to coastal management and greater resilience to the local community.

The trailing suction hopper dredger will be using a sustainable biofuel/LNG during the future campaigns, nearly halving the carbon emissions. Other initiatives include solar panels and electric car charging points at the Anderby site compound and use of electric cars and plant where possible.

Keeping our beaches clean: We encourage everyone to take your litter home and recycle it.

Litter pollutes our oceans and spoils our beaches.

Litter blows into the sea and is harmful to marine life that can become entangled and die.

We’ve all seen our beaches left strewn with litter as people head home after a day on the beach.

Litter left on beaches not only spoil people's enjoyment but can be dangerous to people wanting to enjoy their time safely.

Don't leave litter on the beach. Leave only your footprints.

More Information

The strategy is funded through the Capital 6 year programme and is fully funded by Flood Defence Grant in Aid from Defra.

More Information

Although we work tirelessly to reduce flood risk to people and properties, we have a continually changing coastline. We can never eliminate the risk completely on the east coast. We can continue to manage the risk to homes and businesses by ensuring that our defences remain robust by delivering a flood risk management strategy which will deliver an effective, sustainable approach for the next 100 years.

Here are a number of things you can do to prepare for flooding to keep yourself and your family safe. Find out if your home is at risk, sign up for flood warnings and be ready to take action by visiting or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

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Twitter: @EnvAgency

Environment Agency Customer Contact Centre: 03708 506 506

To report an incident (24-hour service): 0800 80 70 60

Flood warning information - Flood line: 0345 988 1188


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