Embankment Road (Bembridge) Coastal Defence Scheme Information Page

Closes 29 Sep 2028

Opened 27 Jan 2022


Welcome to the Embankment Road (Bembridge) Coastal Defence Scheme Information Page.

The Environment Agency have created this page to provide easy access to information on the Embankment Road (Bembridge) project, one of four priority coastal defence projects on the Isle of Wight. The Environment Agency will be updating this site as the project progresses, so please keep checking for what's new.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive updates on this project or any other of the Isle of Wight coastal defence projects, please email us and let us know which projects you are interested in. 

For information about other coastal defence projects on the Isle of Wight see here.

Latest updates:

Please find our latest briefing update issued in March 2023 here

Please get in touch if you would like to recieve this document in a different format.


The Environment Agency in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council, with expert support from JBA Consulting and VolkerStevin, is exploring a sustainable future for the coastal frontage at Embankment Road, Bembridge Harbour. This frontage stretches between the settlements of St Helens and Bembridge on the north east coast of the Isle of Wight, with a focus on the area from Bembridge Sailing Club in the east to St Helens sluice gates in the west. This is shown by the red line on the map.

The coastline around Embankment Road and the inland habitats it protects is characterised by a variety of low-lying coastal habitats including saltmarsh, mudflats, saline lagoons as well as grassland and woodland in the Eastern Yar valley. The habitat and species which can be found along this section of the coast are of international importance, providing a landscape with rich biodiversity and cultural heritage enjoyed by a range of recreational users for activities such as bird watching, walking, fishing and sailing.

The Embankment Road project aims to investigate the challenges facing this area of coastline now and in the future, and to develop opportunities to protect and enhance the environment for future generations. Options being considered involve repair of the Embankment Road defences in the short term, and a study to determine the most appropriate way of managing the coastline over the longer term, for the next 100 years, as the risk from sea level rise increases.

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Embankment Road is an important local infrastructure link but also provides flood protection to the designated habitats behind it (within Brading Marshes). Some areas of the embankment are in poor condition, leaving it susceptible to failure where exposed to waves and high tides. This will put the coastal grazing marsh, lagoons and inland habitats at ever increasing risk of tidal flooding. This matters because the habitats, and the species that they support, thrive in freshwater conditions and would not be able to tolerate a significant increase in salinity. These habitats are considered so valuable that they are protected by law under the Habitats Directive.
The Environment Agency needs to ensure that the impacts of doing nothing, as well as those of taking any action, are properly assessed.
Climate change could lead to further impacts as a result of sea level rise. If no action is taken, not only will there be increased tidal flood risk to the designated habitats and the species they support, but properties, infrastructure and low-lying land within the Eastern Yar Valley between Bembridge Harbour and the Sandown coastline will become increasingly susceptible to tidal flooding over time. Currently, the risk to property is minimal but we expect there to be several hundred properties at risk by the year 2121. Some of these are in the area surrounding Embankment Road, but the majority are located in Sandown, which is at risk from tidal flooding via both Embankment Road and the Yaverland to Sandown coastal frontage. The Environment Agency is also progressing a coastal protection scheme between Yaverland and Sandown. The project page can be found here.

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Any project must meet strict funding rules. The Environment Agency is currently expecting this scheme to be funded using central government funding as it has a legal duty to protect and enhance biodiversity. However, the limited amount of government funding available for projects such as this has to be prioritised nationally and it must therefore keep funding under review. Renewed justification must be provided at key points in the project to unlock funding for the next phase. Funding from other organisations and beneficiaries will be required to supplement the available government funding and the Environment Agency will be exploring partnership funding opportunities in more detail at the next stage of the project.

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The project is in its very early stages and no decisions have yet been made about how best to address the flood and erosion risks in this area. The Environment Agency have completed an initial assessment of the condition of the Embankment Road flood defences, and identified areas which need further inspection, monitoring or immediate repair. The Environment Agency will be contacting landowners and directly affected individuals to discuss our findings.
Since Autumn 2020 the Environment Agency have been gathering information, such as the condition assessment, and putting a case together for public investment in short term flood and coastal risk management infrastructure improvements at Embankment Road. This is because the Environment Agency have a legal duty to protect and enhance biodiversity. The Environment Agency have submitted a high level business case (a ‘Strategic Outline Case’) to its internal assurance group, and approval was received in December 2021. This approval unlocks funding for the next stage of investigation and business case development. We are currently pursuing the ‘Outline Business Case’ stage, which began in spring 2022. The 'Outline Business Case' will develop more detailed options for managing flood risk and coastal erosion, and will allow the Environment Agency to undertake any flood modelling and other technical assessments to help us make informed decisions.
Further action will need to be taken in the future, beyond any short term repair work, to address the continued risk of flooding to properties and the environment in the Eastern Yar valley. The short term works will extend the life of the existing tidal defences until sea level rise is predicted to accelerate and a sustainable approach to managing tidal flood risk and coastal erosion in the medium to long term needs to be found. The Environment Agency is taking this phased approach in order to balance stakeholder interests, environmental impacts and value for money.

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The Environment Agency wants to work alongside relevant stakeholders, especially the local community, to better understand and explore the challenges and opportunities facing this stretch of coastline now and over the next 100 years.
It will take time to develop ideas and options through consultation before the Environment Agency is ready to agree a preferred approach for the management of the tidal defences along Embankment Road. The Environment Agency is just beginning to engage with landowners, key organisations, and the wider community to introduce the project aims, and better understand what is valued about the coastline, as well as concerns and ideas about its future.
Throughout this project there will be numerous opportunities for you to feed into its development and the Environment Agency would encourage you to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

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Get in touch

Thank you for visiting our project page.

Please contact us:

By email: IOW_FDschemes@environment-agency.gov.uk

By post: Environment Agency, Romsey Office, Canal Walk, Romsey, SO51 8DU

By phone: 03708 506 506


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