Ambitious scheme to protect iconic seafront starts

One of Cornwall’s most iconic seafronts is being protected and improved for residents as work starts on a £3.7 million sea defence project at Long Rock.

Cormac will install 300 metres of new, rock armour sea defences on Long Rock Beach in a bid to safeguard the coastline.

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The work, which is being carried out on behalf of Cornwall Council, will be completed by September or sooner if weather conditions are favourable.

It is set to be followed in the autumn by environmental works to Marazion Marsh, subject to planning permission.

Cormac will be setting up site in Long Rock Car Park from today (4 March) for the duration of the work which involves placing rocks on the coastline to absorb the impact of storm waves and reduce erosion.

While this car park is in use long-term car parking passes for Long Rock will be valid in Marazion Station Car Park where the beach can be accessed via a footpath.

Long Rock Beach will remain open but some areas where work is taking place will be sectioned off temporarily.

The ambitious project aims to safeguard the Long Rock and Mounts Bay coastline and improve access to the beach as well as reduce flood risk, protect the nearby railway line, A30 and South West coast path, and offer environmental benefits for Marazion Marsh.

Once the area is protected a longer-term strategy can be developed to provide protection to the coastline for the long term.

The project will:

Reduce the level of flood risk to the community of Long Rock, which if left will worsen as current defence fails and environmental impacts of climate change increase.

  • Providing increased coastal protection to the Great Western Railway mainline and A30 serving strategic transport links in and out of Penzance and access to the Isles of Scilly.
  • Protect commercial assets and infrastructure including 295 residential properties and 65 commercial properties.
  • Create better conditions for sustained economic growth by reducing obstacles to local investment, complementing new development and allowing greater connection with customers.
  • Improve the natural environment by protecting Marazion Marsh, creating an increased area of open water for habitat and wildlife and connecting river catchments to the coast at Mounts Bay in accordance with Mounts Bay Shoreline Management Strategy and the Environment Agency’s Water Level Management Plan (WLMP).
  • Create widespread flood awareness and improved ownership of flood risk management within the local community.
  • Reduce the long-term costs of responding to future, large-scale flooding events in the Mounts Bay area.
  • Provide eel passages by connecting the catchment to the coast at Marazion.

The works involve:

  • Approximately 300 metres of new rock armour sea defence works with improved access to the beach and seating.
  • Raising the water level in Marazion Marsh, which coupled with dredging and a silt trap will increase water storage capacity and create 3.9 hectares of improved wetland habitat.
  • Provision of four eel passes on the Trevaylor and Chyandour Streams.
  • Achieving a CEEQUAL Excellent award to demonstrate the project’s sustainability.

The works are being wholly funded by grants from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Environment Agency Flood Defence Grant-in-Aid (FDGiA).

They are being delivered by Cornwall Council in partnership with the Environment Agency and the strategic partners; the RSPB, Natural England, Network Rail and the St Aubyn Estate.

Cormac Solutions Ltd is the designer and Ward Williams Associates is the project and cost manager.

Councillor Sue James, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection, said:  “These works will protect the historic Longrock seafront while improving access to the beach, and protecting the adjoining wetlands. 

“They will have a significant impact on protecting Cornwall’s natural environment and a more resilient coastline will allow the area to attract more investment and regeneration.”

Councillor Simon Elliott said: “I welcome the start of the coastal defence work and have given it my full support since the plans were first released. It has been clear from the storms over the last few years that this area is particularly vulnerable and the rock armour represents the best solution in the short term to protecting the businesses and community of Long Rock.

“With the beautiful views across the bay that the coastal path provides, and the area being created by the defences, I was pleased to make £1,000 of my Community Chest fund available to provide picnic benches to hopefully create a great sport to stop and take in our wonderful environment.”

The project is receiving up to £1 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit

A total of £2,700,000 Flood Defence Grant in Aid (FDGiA) has been awarded to the project through the Government's flood and coastal defence funding administered by the Environment Agency on behalf of Defra.

CEEQUAL is the evidence-based sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme for civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping and public realm projects. CEEQUAL aims to deliver improved project specification, design and construction of civil engineering works. CEEQUAL rewards project and contract teams in which clients, designers and contractors go beyond the legal and environmental and social minima to achieve distinctive environmental and social performance in their work. In addition to its use as a rating system to assess performance, it also provides significant influence to project or contract teams as they develop, design and construct their work, because it encourages them to consider the issues in the question set at the most appropriate time.