WORK has started on long-awaited £300,000 project to protect part of Walton’s Naze.

A new sea wall in being built at Stone Point, in Old Hall Lane, to protect the John Weston Nature Reserve, farmland and an Anglian Water Recycling Centre.

The new 260-metre-long clay embankment will also connect the sea wall to the higher ground.

Funding for the 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 Council.

The scheme was supported by all those involved with the Naze Management Board, which is chaired by district council chief executive Ian Davidson.

Nick Turner, who has represented the council on the Naze Board since it started, 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.”

The wall will prevent the sea eroding through to the Walton Channel and protect the Backwaters and marshes, which are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Protection Area.

The work is expected to take about four months to complete.