32. An application for rock armouring would take less time
If we were to take forward rock armouring as the preferred option we’d still need to go through the same process of investigations and approval, including assessments of the various environmental aspects. While the design itself of the rock armour may be simpler, it’s unlikely to significantly reduce the programme going forwards.
There would also be the additional risks for a rock armouring scheme including:
- The Outline Business Case (OBC) wouldn’t be approved as the Environment Agency (EA) may have insufficient confidence that the scheme would get planning (and marine planning) consent given the two previous unsuccessful applications for rock armour in this location
- DEFRA (via the EA) may be reluctant to approve the OBC for a scheme, which Natural England (another part of DEFRA) has advised against through the Beach Management Plan process
- That planning (and marine planning) wouldn’t be approved leading to appeals, or may be referred to the Secretary of State, which may delay the process and add to the costs still further