AMID extreme weather events and rising sea levels becoming the norm, a plan to help protect seafront communities at risk of flooding and erosion along the Isle of Wight's increasingly vulnerable coastline for the next 50 years is being put together.

The Environment Agency (EA) and the Isle of Wight Council have joined forces to 'commit to an approach' for the long term defence of South Wight coastal communities, which they predict will generate more than £240 million worth of benefits to the area, local infrastructure and environment.

The plan is to better protect more than 300 properties and businesses from flooding and coastal erosion in Yaverland, Sandown and Shanklin.  

The current defences are set to be refurbished, following in-depth investigations, assessments, financial analysis and a public consultation.

The works are expected to provide protection for the next 50 years.  

Find out more about the Yaverland Coastal Defence Scheme

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The announcement follows a number of significant landslips along the Island coastline in recent months — none bigger than in Bonchurch.

And just last week, 40ft deep cracks appeared in a cliff top path in Atherfield and a beach had to be shut for safety reasons.

READ MORE: Isle of Wight landslide and cliff fall 2024 timeline

Landslips have also been recorded in the West Wight, South Wight (particularly Ventnor and St Lawrence) and between Bembridge and Shanklin. 

The EA say they are fully supporting the local authority's decision to refurbish the current coastal defences in the Bay area.

Emily Webster, the EA's project lead for the Shanklin and Yaverland Coastal Defence Schemes, said: “The EA is pleased with the decision to refurbish the sea wall and concrete and wooden groynes in Yaverland, Sandown and Shanklin.   

“This decision was based upon our detailed assessments of the best options available, as well as listening to the views of the local communities, who said better protection from coastal erosion and flooding is a priority." 

The next stage will be to create an initial design and plan for the construction work, the EA has said.

Echoing Emily's sentiments, Cllr Paul Fuller, the council's cabinet member for planning, coastal protection and flooding, added: “The current flood defences are deteriorating, so it’s vital we act now to better protect these coastal communities from rising sea levels and more extreme storm events." 

The initial design and plans for the work will go on display at a public exhibition this summer.