REPAIR work on a long groyne is set to begin in April.

BCP Council started on-site preparations for the work to repair and upgrade the Hengistbury Head Long Groyne on March 11.

The groyne plays a critical role in reducing coastal flooding and erosion, protecting thousands of homes and infrastructure within Poole and Christchurch bays.

It also stabilises the frontage preventing the two bays from merging into one.

The works will take place between April and October, and will be done by contractors VBA Joint Venture Ltd.

This construction window is different to that of the timber groyne renewals which happen over winter, as Hengistbury Head has special status as a protected area.

It is also a Scheduled Monument, which means its seen as an important nationally protected archaeological site and designated to be of international significance.

The work has important benefits to the natural environment, providing new habitats for a range of species, including the UK’s rarest amphibian, the Natterjack Toad.

The groyne will be rebuilt using natural quarry stone from France and Norway, with each piece weighing between six and 10 tonnes.

It will remain the same length of around 150 metres but will be made wider and 1.5 metres higher.

After completion of the work, a further two short groynes, near Solent Beach car park, will also be adapted. This work is aimed to be completed by Christmas 2024.

The original long groyne was built in 1939, and it was surrounded in in rock in the late 80s after concrete repairs were done in the 1960s.

After the Valentine’s Day storm in 2014, rock armour repairs took place and inspections in 2019 showed several voids below the waterline and was at risk of collapse.

Councillor Andy Hadley, portfolio holder for climate response, environment and energy, said: “The Long Groyne plays a significant role in reducing the risks of coastal flooding and erosion from the Purbecks to Hurst Spit, and it’s great to see the work starting on site.

“The current Long Groyne is life-expired and during storm events, is frequently submerged by sea waves, compromising its performance as a coastal defence structure.

“These works will ensure our coastline is more resilient to projected sea level rise and the increasing number of storm events predicted over the next 100 years.

“The upgrade will also enable us to deliver innovative environmental enhancements to improve the natural environment.”