Shanklin Coastal Defence Scheme Information Page

Closes 29 Sep 2028

Opened 27 Jan 2022


Welcome to the Shanklin Coastal Defence Scheme Information Page.

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Latest update: 22 May 2024

Find out how we are actively committed to reducing carbon

Update: 28 March 2024

Members of the project team visited Yaverland and Shanklin this week to review the draft engineering designs and allow our estimator to update the project construction costs. Opportunities to improve the design and increase efficiency of the construction work were identified. 

Preferred option announcement: 18 March 2024

Our latest newsletter can be viewed below. 

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A copy of the March 2024 newsletter can be downloaded here

Design work to progress on option chosen to refurbish the coastal defences

The coastal defences will continue to reduce the risk of coastal erosion and flooding to Shanklin for 50 years to come following a decision by Isle of Wight Council on the best way forward. The decision to refurbish the coastal defences was made following review of a series of ground investigative works, financial analysis and flood risk assessments. The public consultation told us that better protection from coastal erosion and flooding is important locally. The scheme will provide over £80 million worth of benefits to people, property and the environment. The project team will now work to draw up an initial design and establish a construction methodology for the refurbishment work.

A reminder of the short list of options

In November 2023 we were pleased to hold public exhibitions to showcase the short list of options for refurbishing the coastal defences.

We produced the following information for our public exhibitions to help explain what the scheme is about and how we arrived at our short list of options:

Exhibition banner 1 - Introduction

Exhibition Banner 2 - Scheme extent

Exhibition Poster 1 - Survey and Investigations

Exhibition Poster 2 - Constraints and Opportunities

Exhibition Poster 3 - Measures considered

Exhibition Poster 4 - Project objectives and criteria

Exhibition Poster 5 - Short List

The short list of options being considered were:

Option 1: Do Nothing

Option 2: Do Minimum

Option 3: Keep the existing defence level

Option 4: Raise the level of the defence in stages into the future

Option 5: Raise the defence level now

Preferred option: Option 3 (Keep the existing defence level).

Option 3 (Keep the existing defence level) has been chosen by Isle of Wight Council as the preferred way forward following a recommendation made by the Environment Agency.

Option 3 will involve construction works to refurbish the sea wall, timber groynes and concrete groynes. The methodology for refurbishment will be confirmed during the next stage as the team progress with drawing up an initial design. The current thinking is that works to the walls will be constructed using shutters and in-situ pour of concrete 200mm against the face of the existing sea wall. This option will provide a quality finish. Temporary works such as sheet piling will be required along the section of wall and groyne being worked on to provide a safe and dry working corridor.

The defence level will be kept at the existing level. No raising of the existing defence height will be made over the next 50 years. As part of the refurbishment project, we will include works which strengthen the foundations of the seawall with the foresight that a decision to raise the height of the sea wall may be a viable option in 50 years’ time.

How was the preferred option selected?

An overview of the options appraisal process at Outline Business Case stage is presented in the poster below:

Exhibition Banner 2 - Scheme extent

Continue reading for more detail about the process

The Preferred Option has been selected using the decision-making process defined in the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Appraisal Guidance. For this type of project, Cost Benefit Analysis has been used to select the Preferred Option in accordance with the guidance. This guidance defines Cost Benefit Analysis as a type of appraisal or assessment which compares benefits and costs to identify the impact of different options on overall welfare.

The project objectives were split into criteria to allow the objectives to be assessed in more detail. Elected councillors were invited to participate in the process for assessing whether the options met broader Isle of Wight Council objectives. This exercise allowed the options to be ranked in order of acceptance.

The engineering implications of the options were assessed following a review of the Ground Investigation Report by the geotechnical and structural engineers. The carbon footprint for the Short List of options was quantified and a high-level construction cost estimated. This is in addition to overtopping and inundation flood modelling, further environmental and Biodiversity Net Gain assessments, detailed economic appraisals and funding assessments which have also been carried out.

With the results of the appraisal and public consultation to hand, the project team were joined by Isle of Wight Council representatives at a workshop on 30 November 2023 to agree the Preferred Option. This recommendation was then reviewed by Isle of Wight Council’s Climate and Environment Board for consideration. The recommendation received approval with the stipulation that the design must not preclude a decision to raise the height of the seawall in the future.

Summary of public consultation responses

We received 42 responses in total. Of the 42 responses, 36 people gave their permission for us to publish their response.

Summary of key findings from the consultation responses:

  • No one favoured the do nothing or do minimal option (short list Option 1 and Option 2). Respondents told us that better protection from coastal erosion and flooding is a priority. 
  • Option 5 was the most favourable option to raise the defences now to address future sea level rise. A total of 33 of the 36 respondents agreed or strongly agreed with taking option 5 forward. Respondents told us that there is an interest locally in raising the height of the coastal defences to reduce the risk to Shanklin from rising sea level both now and in the future.

The full report summarising the responses to the public consultation can be viewed here.

The flood risk assessments and financial analysis were being progressed at the same time as public consultation. This information is now available and presented below.

What did our investigation work show?

Updated flood risk assessment

Flood modelling uses predicted river flows, rainfall, and coastal levels combined with topographic data and flow equations to generate flood risk information (such as depth, velocity, flood levels, and hazards). Our team of specialists updated the coastal flood modelling for Shanklin to ensure it uses the latest information and software available.

The main coastal threat to Shanklin is erosion of the sea defences due to their current poor condition. Our latest modelling predicts that failure of the coastal defences would lead to the loss of the beach amenity and access to the esplanade. This which would have significant knock-on impacts to the area. We estimate that 76 residential and 55 non-residential properties are at risk of flooding from failure of the sea wall.  The below map shows the anticipated flood extent in the event of defences failing.

Preventing this scenario can be achieved through either Option 3, Option 4 or Option 5. Increasing the height of the coastal defences does not provide any additional erosion protection over Option 3, it only provides a greater level of protection against flooding associated with waves overtopping the sea wall.

Modelling results tell us that the risk of flooding from wave overtopping is low given the existing height of the defences and raised floor levels of properties. Modelling suggests that 5 non-residential properties and 0 residential properties in Shanklin would remain at risk of internal flooding from overtopping after completion of Option 3.

Financial analysis

Option 3 provides over £80 million worth of benefits to people, property and the environment. The additional benefits associated with Option 4 and Option 5 are not as great. The figure below shows the cost to construct Option 3 is significantly less compared with Option 4 and Option 5. Increasing the height of the sea wall almost doubles the cost of the scheme. The public consultation told us that there is interest locally in raising the height of the existing defences however the funding shortfall of £4.9million and £8.5million for Option 4 and Option 5 respectively makes these unviable options for Isle of Wight Council to take forward.

Information on how Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management schemes are funded can be found here:

How will the shortfall in funding for the preferred option be addressed?

Isle of Wight Council as the owner of the coastal defences will develop a funding strategy to address the shortfall in funding with support from the Environment Agency. The funding strategy will be produced during the Full Business Case stage in 2025. Project costs are expected to change following more detailed costings from our contractor.

Ground investigative work

Our contractors drilled boreholes at various points on the sea wall at Shanklin Esplanade using specialist equipment to retrieve a core which was sent to the laboratory for analysis. Machine excavated trenches located at intervals along the sea wall and next to the groynes were also dug.

This work helped to increase our understanding of the existing structures and will help us plan the refurbishment work. The key findings are:

  • A total of four concrete cores were extracted at strategic locations along the concrete sea wall. Ferruginous Sands Formation (weathered bedrock) was encountered in all boreholes. This comprised a mixture of granular and cohesive soils described to range between very dense silty sand and firm sandy clay.
  • The sea walls are much thinner than modern engineering standards. This tells us that works to the foundations will be needed as part of the refurbishment work.
  • Borehole cores extracted from the ground have been donated to the British Geological Society. Their data sets provided useful information for our projects, and we hope our contribution will help others in the future.

The below image shows one of the borehole cores extracted from the ground and stored in its wooden container:

Coastal processes assessment

  • The historic trends in beach profile from 2004 to 2020 were reviewed. The min/max envelope in the above image shows the beach level overall remains relatively stable across the survey period.
  • Short term fluctuations are observed and indicate seasonal changes.
  • The overall stable condition is attributed to the constant nourishment of sediment received from the south-north net sediment transport rate of 25,000m3/year on average. The assessment shows that the two concrete groynes known as Osbourne and Hope Groynes are important for the long-term stability of beach levels.
  • Past storm events have caused beach levels to lower by up to 1metre in front of the sea walls.  
  • One of the major physical impacts of a rise in sea level includes erosion of beaches. Our coastal processes assessment shows that beach levels are expected to lower by less than 5cm by 2040 and up to 2m by 2125.  It is expected that the toe of the sea wall will have sufficient beach cover to protect it from erosion for the next 50 years. After this point, works to prevent scour at the toe of the sea wall may be needed.

Why was the preferred option selected?

The financial assessment compared the benefits and costs to identify the impact of each option overall. The benefits to the community of progressing Option 3 (the preferred option) outweigh the costs. The work will bring over £80 million worth of benefits to the community, the local infrastructure and the local environment.

The figure below summarises the Short List appraisal for those options deemed to qualify for consideration as the Preferred Option (Options 3, 4 & 5).

The ranking of the options is based on:

  • The criteria grouped by PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technical, Legal, Environmental).
  • The criteria grouped by Objectives.
  • Economic, Financial, and Carbon ranking

A PESTLE analysis studies the key external factors (Political, Economic, Social, Technal, Legal and Environmental) that influence an organisation or environment. It can be used in a range of different scenarios, and can guide people and professionals in strategic decision-making.

In terms of appraisal against the criteria, Option 3 at Shanklin was ranked first overall. Option 3 ranked second for PESTLE. Option 3 ranked second for scheme objectives but still meets all scheme objectives. Option 3 ranked highest of all options for economic, financial and carbon ranking. Option 3 has the longest duration of benefits (50 years) when compared to the other options (20-40 years). Other than the usual maintenance for Isle of Wight Council, no interim works are expected in the 50 years of the scheme.

Why is the height of the sea wall not being increased?

The flood risk assessment shows that the risk of internal property flooding from waves overtopping the existing sea wall is low given the height of the existing wall and raised floor levels of properties. Only a small number of properties would remain at risk of internal flooding from waves overtopping the sea wall after the refurbishment work is complete. Our modelling estimates that no homes and only 5 businesses would remain at risk of internal property flooding from a tidal flooding event with a 0.5% annual probability (1 in 200 chance each year).

The financial analysis has indicated that other measures such as Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures are a more cost-effective method of reducing the risk of internal flooding to these properties. This opportunity will be explored as part of the next phase of work on the scheme. PFR measures can include flood boards, air brick covers, non-return valves and pumps, as well as work to ensure that the fabric of the property is sound. More information about PFR can be found here:

We can never remove the risk of flooding entirely. Our flood risk assessment shows that if the height of the sea wall was to be increased, there would still be a risk of wave overtopping and associated internal property flooding. The same 5 businesses would remain at risk of internal flooding even if Option 4 and Option 5 were to be implemented.

The results of the financial analysis have shown that the additional scheme benefits from raising the height of the sea wall do not outweigh the additional scheme costs. Increasing the height of the sea wall almost doubles the cost of the scheme. The shortfall in funding makes the option to raise the height of the sea wall an unviable option for Isle of Wight Council to take forward.

Where does this leave us in the future with sea level rise?

The risk of flooding from the sea over the next 100 years with 1 metre of sea level rise was modelled to improve our understanding of how the risk of flooding in the area may change in the future. It is estimated that without increasing the height of the sea wall, 11 homes and 30 businesses would be at risk of internal flooding from the sea by the year 2121. Raising the height of the sea wall would still leave 5 homes and 18 businesses at risk of internal property flooding from the sea by the year 2121.

As part of the refurbishment project, we will include works which strengthen the foundations of the seawall with the foresight that a decision to raise the height of the seawall may be a viable option in 50 years’ time.

Previous updates:

Update 1 March 2024

During November 2023 we held two public exhibitions to showcase the short list of options for the coastal defences. The first exhibition was held at the Clifton Hotel in Shanklin, where we were delighted to have nearly 100 visitors. Everyone who attended welcomed the opportunity to escape the wet weather, have a warm drink, and chat to the project team and other visitors to the exhibition.

The events took place in the aftermath of Storm Babet and Storm Ciarán. The impacts of increased storm frequency were at the forefront of people’s minds. Residents talked to us about the storm damage they had observed along sections of the coastal defences including paving and capping stones dislodged. The storms brought heavy and persistent rainfall resulting in widespread flooding impacts across the Isle of Wight. You might be interested to know that 2023 was the wettest year on record for the Island. Under such exceptional conditions, both the Environment Agency and Isle of Wight Council opened their area incident rooms to coordinate the response, staff worked 24/7 to help manage flood risk and support local communities.

The Environment Agency has specially trained Flood Support Officers across the country who provide information and advice during and after floods. Call Floodline (24-hour service) on 0345 988 1188 or type-talk (for the hard of hearing) on 0345 602 6340 if you are affected by flooding.

We want to thank everyone who took the time to come along. The report summarising the consultation responses can be viewed here:

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This document can be downloaded here

Update 2 December 2023

The Shanklin sea defence survey is now closed.

What happens next?

We have had a great response to our survey asking you to comment on the proposed shortlist for the refurbishment of Shanklin sea defences. 

We will publish a summary of responses on Citizen Space within 12 weeks of this consultation closing. We will not publish any personal data.  We will not respond individually to responses. 

In line with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we may be required to publish your response to this consultation, but will not include any personal information. If you have requested your response to be kept confidential, we may still be required to provide a summary of it. For more information see our Personal Information Charter.

We are running this consultation in accordance with the guidance set out in the government's consultation principles. 

If you have any questions or complaints about the way this consultation has been carried out, please contact

To make sure you are fully informed please email us requesting to join our mailing list.

Update 10 November 2023:

The last day of our public exhibition is today, 10 November. The Coastal Defence team will be at The Clifton Hotel, 1 Queens Road, Shanklin PO37 6AN between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM taday. You will have the opportunity to find out about the sea defences and the options for refurbishment before completing our survey. 

Your feedback will help us to determine a preferred option for the sea defences.

Please complete our survey by 1 December 2023. The survey can be found online here. Paper copies are aslo available from Sandown Library, Shanklin Library and the Help Desk at Isle of Wight Council, County Hall, High Street, Newport, PO30 1UD. 

If you can not make the exhibition you can find all of the material on our consultation page here

Update 6 November 2023

The public exhibitions for our Shanklin and Yaverland Coastal Defence scheme are going ahead as planned this week.

Update 26 October 2023:

October public exhibition drop in events cancelled due to flooding impacts

Due to the impact of heavy rainfall and flooding across the Isle of Wight we have made the difficult decision to cancel the public exhibition drop in events at Wildheart Animal Sanctuary and the Broadway Centre for the Yaverland and Shanklin Coastal Defence Schemes which were due to take place this week.   

Our staff are currently prioritising our incident response work. The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and members of the public is a priority. We expect to go ahead with the rest of our schedule of events as planned in November. We are checking venue availability and will update this page with a revised date for the Yaverland and Sandown exhibitions. 

The consultation is still live. You can view our exhibition material online in the meantime. Head over to our consultation page here

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 A copy of the poster can be downloaded here.

Our latest newsletter can be viewed here:

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The newsletter can be downloaded here

Update - 10 May 2023

To help us assess the possible options for sea wall and groyne refurbishment, we needed to deepen our understanding of the ground conditions and underground structures, including the foundations of the existing sea defences. To do this, in January 2023 we undertook a series of below ground explorations ranging from the digging of excavation pits to the use of drilling rigs for taking boreholes. We are currently analysing the findings of this work. Further details can be found here

Update 7 November 2022

We sought views on how the coastal frontage along Shanklin Esplanade is used, what is most valued about it, and the perceptions amongst stakeholders of flood and coastal erosion risks both now and in the future. This will help to inform how we engage with stakeholders going forward, and capture any concerns, ideas and opportunities in the shortlist of options that we present to the public in Summer 2023.

We received 44 responses in total. 31 responses were made via the Shanklin Coastal Defence Scheme Citizen Space webpage; the remaining 13 were made via hard copy versions held at Shanklin Library. 

The information obtained from the Shanklin Coastal Defence Scheme public realm questionnaire will be used to support the confirmation of a short list of options that could be used to reduce the risk of coastal erosion to the sea wall in Shanklin. These will be presented to the public in June/July 2023, when individuals, businesses, community groups and organisations will be invited to offer their views on the options. We will also be using the responses to plan the format, content and timing of our future engagement and communication activities.

Individuals who wish to follow up their responses, or points made within this document, in more detail are welcome to contact us at

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A copy of the response summary can be found here


The Environment Agency in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council, with expert support from JBA Consulting and VolkerStevin, are exploring a sustainable future for the coastal frontage at Shanklin Esplanade, located on the eastern coast of the Isle of Wight.

The Shanklin frontage is identified as defence unit IW27 in the 2010 Isle of Wight Shoreline Management Plan 2 (SMP2). The policy for this unit is hold the line.

The scheme will cover approximately 900 metres of coastal frontage from the large concrete Hope Groyne at the northern end of the Shanklin Esplanade to Shanklin Chine wooded coastal ravine and nature reserve in the south. Area denoted by red line in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1

The Shanklin project aims to investigate how best to respond to the challenges facing the Shanklin Esplanade coastal frontage, thereby protecting the community and preserving the area’s tourism and heritage value. Options being considered involve capital works, which may include refurbishment and repair of the existing defences. Additionally, the project will explore longer term flood and erosion management solutions which protect and enhance the seafront for future generations and provide a platform for regeneration.

More Information

Coastlines are naturally dynamic environments and change is a common occurrence. The Shanklin Esplanade community is built out in front of the former sea cliffs at the back of the Esplanade, and is vulnerable to erosion.  Management of this risk will become increasingly challenging as sea levels rise in response to climatic changes.  

More Information

The condition of the existing seawall, which is over 100 years old, and groyne structures protecting the Esplanade varies. Some sections are expected to offer sufficient protection for many years to come, whilst other sections are in need of immediate repair.
Northern (left) and Southern (right) seawall showing historic deterioration
If no action is taken to prevent further deterioration, the risk of asset failure increases. In the short term, this will result in damage to the Esplanade highway (including services). Vehicular access to the seafront would become impossible if the only access road is lost, preventing access to the majority of properties on the frontage and resulting in the closure of Hope Car Park and others in the area. The Environment Agency anciptates that an initial scheme would benefit 121 properties by reducing the risk that access to these properties would be lost through coastal erosion. In the longer term, there could be direct property loss and an acceleration of coastal erosion towards the town. The risk of future wave overtopping also requires further consideration.

More Information

On behalf of the UK government, the Environment Agency prioritise and allocate funding to flood and coastal erosion risk management schemes using a partnership funding approach. Securing national funding is dependent on the scale of benefits and outcomes delivered by a scheme and, if required, additional funding contributions may be required from other sources such as local levy (raised by the Regional Flood and Coastal Committees), private or public organisations, the local community or developers. Anyone who benefits from a scheme may be asked to contribute towards its funding. The Isle of Wight Council is also making a funding contribution towards the current schemes.

More information on how partnership funding works can be found here

Current estimates suggest the Shanklin scheme would be eligible for £2.6 million of government Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Grant in Aid funding. Early, high level estimates indicate the cost of a refurbishment scheme would be in excess of this, and that several million pounds would need to be found, or savings made, to enable the project to proceed. Actual partnership funding requirements are very much dependent upon further investigation to confirm the required costs but the Environment Agency is already considering other potential sources of funding to supplement available government funding.

More Information

No decisions have yet been made about how best to address the erosion and flood risks in this area. Since September 2020, the Environment Agency and delivery partners have been gathering information and putting a case together for public investment in flood and coastal risk management infrastructure improvements. The Environment Agency have done this by submitting a high level business case (a ‘Strategic Outline Case’) to its internal assurance group.
Approval was received in summer 2021, which justifies funding for the next stage of business case development. This is the ‘Outline Business Case’ stage, which began in winter 2021. The 'Outline Business Case' will develop more detailed options for improving the defences, and the Environment Agency will undertake flood modelling and other technical assessments and investigations to help us make decisions.

More Information

The project is still in its early stages and the Environment Agency have identified a wide range of options to reduce the existing risk of flooding and coastal erosion. The Environment Agency will need your thoughts and ideas to supplement its technical assessments, to develop these options.
This will take time, but the Environment Agency will increase its engagement activities in the coming months as the Environment Agency introduces the project, shares initial findings, and gathers views on what is valued about the coastline as well as any concerns about its future.
Throughout this project there will be numerous opportunities for you to feed into its development and would encourage you to do so. 

Frequently asked questions can be viewed here.

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By phone: 03708 506 506


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  • Blast from the past 2023: Dinosaur Isle Culver Parade Sandown, Isle of Wight PO36 8QA

    From 18 Nov 2023 at 10:00 to 19 Nov 2023 at 16:00

    We are delighted that Dinosaur Isle Museum have invited us to Blast from the past 2023. The event is for local people to find out about the Island’s heritage. Visitors are being asked to make a token charge of £1/ visitor. This is another opportunity to view our exhibition before the consultation window closes.


  • Anyone from any background


  • Flood management
  • Coastal management
  • Specific projects, issues, or activity pages