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Smart pebbles protect coast

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey visited Hayling Island to see how the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP) is using new technology to protect the coastline.

Alan Mak MP, who had invited the Environment Minister, was there to welcome her alongside the ESCP team. During the visit, the team demonstrated the innovative solutions it uses, including smart pebbles and laser scanning.

Smart pebbles are small stones implanted with radio tags which enable the ESCP to monitor the movement of shingle along the beach, while laser scanning enables the precise surveying of coastal areas. Both tools are helping to protect Hayling Island from flooding and environmental damage.

The ESCP is a coalition of local specialist coastal officers and engineers managing the Solent coastline as part of a partnership between Havant Borough Council, Portsmouth City Council, Fareham Borough Council and Gosport Borough Council.

Following the visit, MP for Havant, Alan Mak, said: "It was great to be able to show the Minister the innovative work being done by the ESCP and Havant Borough Council on the Solent coastline, making sure those living on Hayling Island are protected from flooding and that the natural environment is protected. I know she was impressed by the work being done here on Hayling Island to find innovative solutions to improving our flood defences.”

Lyall Cairns, Head of Coastal Partnership, said: “We recognise that coastal management issues aren’t exclusive to Local Authority boundaries, and that’s why by sharing the resources of the four Local Authorities, we’re able to take on more projects and deliver a service with greater efficiencies, whilst ensuring public service excellence for our coastal communities.”

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