Work has begun constructing a new sea wall to protect part of The Naze at Walton-on-the-Naze.
The embankment, to be built of clay, will protect the John Weston Nature Reserve at the Naze, farmland and an Anglian Water Recycling Centre, from a one in 100 year flood event.
It will also connect the sea wall to the higher ground.
Funding for the £300,000 project has come from the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, Anglian Water, landowner David Eagle, the Naze Protection Society, Frinton and Walton Town Council and Tendring District Council (TDC), and the scheme has been supported by all those involved with the Naze Management Board, which is chaired by TDC Chief Executive Ian Davidson.
Nick Turner, who has represented TDC on the Naze Board since its inception, said he was delighted to see work had started.
“This scheme will help protect part of the Naze, which is a beautiful piece of our landscape and both historically and environmentally significant, for many years to come,” he said.
“By far the most important thing is that the sea will be held up and not allowed to cut through to the Walton Channel – thus eroding the Naze Marsh, Cormorant and Stone Creeks and Stone Point, leading to radical change and destroying the Backwaters as we know it.
“It has taken several years to come to fruition due to the processes of planning permission, agreement from bodies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency, and organising the funding.
“But now we are here, spades are in the ground, and work has begun to save this intrinsic part of our coastline.”
Work is expected to last around four months.
The sea wall will be around 260 metres long, up to 17 metres wide, and up to two metres high. It will prevent the sea eroding through to the Walton Channel and protect the backwaters and marshes, which have a number of designations including a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Protection Area.
The Naze at Walton is partially looked after by Essex Wildlife Trust and administered by the Naze Management Board, comprising of several different partners.