Plans for new coastal defences in Southsea have taken another big step forward after securing permission to do vital marine work

The Southsea Coastal Scheme has been granted a marine licence by the Marine Management Organisation, the equivalent of planning permission for work below average tide height. The announcement is the latest milestone for the project after the proposals to replace outdated sea defences in Southsea with state-of-the-art designs was granted planning permission in December last year. Cllr Steve Pitt, Portsmouth City Council Cabinet Member for Culture and City Development & Deputy Leader said: "It's great news we've secured a marine licence for the project and a testament to all the hard work the project team continues to do during these testing times. A lot is happening in the background in preparation for the Southsea Coastal Scheme, which is still planned to start later on this year and the team is making great progress." The majority of the team delivering the Southsea Coastal Scheme is working from home during this time and progress is being made on the design and plans for the project, securing the necessary permissions for work and exploring further funding opportunities. The marine licence clears the way for work below average tide height, such as replacing and adding beach material, placement of rock along the seafront and other work on sea walls and structures towards the sea. The next milestone for the scheme will now be the approval of the full business case, which was submitted in October 2019 and, if approved, will unlock the required government funding for the scheme. Construction work on the first section of defences, at Long Curtain Moat, is planned to begin later this year.