New sea defence gates at Knightstone

Work to install new sea defence gates at Knightstone Island on Weston-super-Mare seafront has started.

They will replace the Dutch dam which was installed as part of the £36m seafront enhancements project in 2009.

The new gates, which will be identical to the other sea defence gates along the promenade, will make it easier and quicker for North Somerset Council to respond to flood warnings and protect the town from flooding.

They will also mean less disruption for residents of Knightstone Island and businesses in the area.

Due to its complex construction the Dutch dam could take up to four hours to put up at a cost of £1,500 each time it was used. It was then left in place for up to a week until the high tides were over.

The replacement gates can be closed at a moment’s notice and then quickly re-opened once the threat of flooding has passed. They will not be routinely shut when high tides occur. Officers will make a decision based on the conditions at the time.

Work to install the gates should last for about 10 weeks and is due to be completed in July. An alternative access to the island for residents, visitors and businesses is available while work is in progress.

The new system will cost around £300,000 with the majority of funding coming from the original seafront enhancements budget set aside for snagging issues related to the project.

“Our utmost priority for the sea defences is to make sure we can respond quickly to flood risks with minimal impact on local residents and businesses,” said Cllr Peter Bryant, executive member for environmental protection.

“These new gates at Knightstone Island will enable us to do that and will also significantly reduce the costs currently involved in closing the Dutch dam. From our experience it is likely that the gates will rarely be closed which will be a great improvement on the current situation.”