In August 2016, a £1.8 million coastal defence scheme was approved, to fill the gap between the two existing rock revetments at Fairlight Cove. The improvements were designed to better control sea erosion which, combined with wind and groundwater erosion, resulted in the loss of the unprotected cliff each year. In particular, the cliff-top village of Fairlight was the main concern.
The scheme was funded by the Environment Agency’s Flood Defence Grant in Aid, with an additional £75,000 each from Fairlight Preservation Trust and Fairlight Parish Council. The revetment was designed by Canterbury City Council’s engineering services, through the East Kent Engineering Partnership, and was constructed by coastal civil engineering contractor J.T. Mackley and Co Ltd.
A 270m revetment was constructed in front of the cliffs, and supported by the good weather, was completed four weeks ahead of schedule in October 2016. All 22,500 tonnes of Larvik granite rock, delivered from Norway, was successfully delivered onto the beach by barge. To preserve the prehistoric forest remains and avoid disturbance to the foreshore all machinery and equipment was transported to site using a landing craft.
The rock placing machines are fitted with the latest Gobal Positioning System (GPS) technology, with a computer screen which shows the operative a virtual model of the rock berm. This allows for accurate and speedy placement of the rocks.
The construction process has attempted to blend together the stage 3 revetment with the two existing revetments. Additional maintenance was carried out on the two existing revetments where necessary whilst on site.