Coastal defences on a stretch of the Isle of Wight's coastline need strengthening to prevent a protected nature reserve from being flooded.

Ground investigation works will take place next month in Bembridge after surveys found some defences along Embankment Road were 'reaching the end of their life'.

This means temporary two-way traffic lights will be in place on one of the main roads in and out of the village for weeks.

Some areas of the embankment are in 'poor condition' the Environment Agency says, and if nothing is done to repair the defences soon, there is a high chance they could be breached, leading to tidal flooding in the Brading Marshes Nature Reserve.

The habitats and species in the marshes — which are protected by law — thrive in freshwater conditions and would not be able to tolerate the significant increase in salinity.

Isle of Wight County Press: The proposed areas of work at Embankment Road. Picture by The Environment Agency.The proposed areas of work at Embankment Road. Picture by The Environment Agency. (Image: The Environment Agency)

The Environment Agency is looking to find a repair for the defences, with a particular focus on the area from Bembridge Sailing Club to St Helens sluice gates.

The work is necessary to help better understand the composition and condition of the embankment, the ground conditions and monitor groundwater levels.

Options being considered include short-term defences and long-term plans of managing the coastline for the next 100 years, as the risk of sea level rises increases.

No decision has yet been made on how to address the flood and erosion risks but initial assessments and an outline business case has been developed.

Read about more coastal defences work around the Island here ...  

Work will start in Bembridge on September 4, where land material will be sent away for testing.

The Environment Agency said it only had a limited window of time to complete the work, so it could reduce the disturbance to nesting and wintering birds.

The body says it has tried to reduce the amount of road closures as much as possible so temporary traffic lights will be in place from September 21 to October 6.

There will also be some footpath closures and diversions will be in place.

The work in Bembridge is starting at the same time as those in Ventnor, doing the same work to look at ground conditions preparing for future coastal defence schemes.