A major £36 million project to create 23 new beaches along the Clacton and Holland coastline was officially opened yesterday.
The 5km scheme has been completed ahead of budget and ahead of schedule – and will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the seafront areas.
The new defenses will also protect more than 3,000 residential and commercial properties for the next 100 years.
One of the larger rocks shipped over from Norway, and used as part of the construction of the fish tail groynes, was unveiled on the seafront.
The unveiling was carried out by Emma Howard-Boyd, Deputy Chairman of the Environment Agency (EA), Neil Stock, Leader of Tendring District Council (TDC) and David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council (ECC).
Sir Philip Dilley, EA chairman, said: “Over 3,000 homes and businesses will now be better protected along this part of the Essex coastline thanks to the investment made by government, local councils and partners.
“The Clacton flood scheme will play a key role in protecting people and property, and as one of the first of 9 growth projects to be completed in the country, it will also contribute to the regeneration of the town and provide a valuable boost to the local economy.
“One in six homes in England is at risk of flooding and we are spending £2.3 billion over the next six years to reduce flood risk to more than 300,000 properties alone. Successful partnerships, like this one with Tendring District and Essex County Council, will continue to be vital.”
The project was financed by TDC, ECC, the EA and more latterly by Anglian Water.
The construction work was carried out by Boskalis Westminster, part of VBA Joint Venture Limited.