Sea defence upgrade 'will not protect against storms'

ENVIRONMENT’S £20m. upgrade of coastal defences will defend the coastline against rising sea levels – but it can never protect against storms, it has said.

Storm damage to sea wall at Fermain Bay

The department attempted to clarify its report, improving defences at St Sampson’s Harbour and Belle Greve over five years, after recent 50mph winds and high tides battered the island.

It led West deputy David De Lisle to question whether Environment was right to prioritise those east coast locations over places such as Perelle and Rocquaine.

But the department argued that St Sampson’s and Belle Greve were the most susceptible to rising sea levels and coastal flooding.

‘Neither St Sampson’s Harbour area nor Les Banques suffered serious damage in the recent storms but the flood risk from predicted sea level rise remains,’ a spokesman said.

‘If funding for defence projects for St Sampson’s and/or Les Banques is diverted now, these two areas may be set back to a point where essential infrastructure or business operation may be put at serious risk.

‘The sustained storm conditions recently were outside many islanders’ experience and people living alongside the coast were particularly affected with sea water pouring onto their gardens, as well as dealing with sand, weed and pebbles.

‘However, it must be appreciated that the power of the sea under such conditions means that it is unlikely that it will ever be possible to prevent storm-driven waves causing damage, given the road and extensive property development that is concentrated around the flatter areas of the east and west coast.’

Comments for: "Sea defence upgrade 'will not protect against storms'"

Jimmy rimmer

The sea ia bigger than all the land,fact! Why don't people let us drive while we still can...? The oceans will cover us all one day


Caw lumme days, most of the coast, for more than 100 years was protected by wooden groynes. Until along came a bloke with a vested interest who persuaded a weak minded States that pile driven sheet steel was better. The idea that an immovable object would resist a irresistible force is a contradiction and soon that immovable force started giving ground.

The wooden groynes turned the direct force of the waves and stopped the waves from sucking and undermining, instead building a natural defence. Of course if the States go back to the wooden groyne method then they would lose face, wouldn't they/

You can't have that!


Completely agree, the natural methods are far cheaper and easier to maintain. Just look at L'eree shingle bank, that was repaired in a morning with one man and a digger.

Devil's Advocate

I think you'll find the walls protected by sheet-pile aprons have not suffered at all in the recent storms so you're incorrect. As Jon says below, soft defences are inherently better, but there is not the physical room for those. Large boulders work well, but invariably end up full of rats living in them and look unslightly, hence the reason they're not currently used more widely.