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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: 'improving the town’s coastal defences' with an 'up-to-date aerial survey'

The Sidmouth Beach Management Plan steering group has asked for more information:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Beach Management Plan >>> "renewed call for evidence from Sidmouth people to provide details of their personal knowledge of the beach and cliffs"

The latest issue of the Express and Echo carries impressive photographic evidence of the cliffs at Pennington Point:

Pictured: Drone provides bird’s eye view of Sidmouth cliffs erosion

By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: March 24, 2015




New aerial photographs of Sidmouth cliffs and beach, taken by an unmanned drone, will bring cliff erosion measurements up to date.

Sidmouth’s seagulls were joined last week by a ‘bird of no feather’ when a tiny fixed wing drone took to the skies on behalf of East Devon District Council to photograph Sidmouth beach and cliffs east of the River Sid to provide up to date evidence of coastal erosion for its Beach Management Plan project.

The drone – a SenseFly eBee, weighing just ½ kg and fitted with a compact computer and camera – was carrying out a trial mission commissioned by Plymouth Coastal Observatory. Flying for 45 minute periods at speeds of around 45kmph, the drone - or unmanned aerial system (UAS) as it is officially known - surveyed 3km of the coast over two days, from the headland at Salcombe Regis to Jacob’s Ladder.

On each pre-programmed flight the 1m wide drone captured 250 high resolution images of the beach and cliffs taken at different angles. Controlling the drone from a laptop computer, was Leigh Harris of Kaarbon Tech, a firm from Christchurch, Dorset, which specialises in aerial surveying. The 1500 photographs that were taken will be ‘stitched’ together electronically by Kaarbon Tec to produce a detailed photo-mosaic and contour survey of the coast, which can be used to see and measure changes to the coastline.

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Video: Drone takes to the air for aerial survey of Sidmouth erosion



Despite its diminutive size and weight, the drone is capable of avoiding aggressive seagulls and is fitted with a wind sensor, which tells it to come home if the weather gets too bad. However, the drone coped with both gulls and gusting winds of up to 25kph over Sidmouth to complete its mission successfully.

Tony Burch, Assistant Project Manager for the BMP, said: “While the primary purpose of the survey is to get a 2015 record of the beach and the cliffs for 300m east of the River Sid, we need to see that in the context of the longer coastline, so the survey covers the whole of the beach from the River Sid to the headland due south of Salcombe Regis. We have also taken the opportunity to include the main beach in the survey so we will have an aerial record of it shortly after last month’s recycling.”

“Existing photogrammetric aerial imagery of the coastline is for 1946, 1950, 1988, 2006, 2009 and 2012. We decided it was important to bring it up to date with this survey and fill in the gaps with other information, so we have the best possible record of how the beach and cliffs have changed over time to base the rest of the project upon. It’s the same with most things: you need to know what the problem is and find out what’s causing it before you can fix it. This up-to-date survey will help us do just that.”


The Herald has also carried the story:


Cliff erosion pictured from the skies

12:29 23 March 2015 Stefan Gordon


A project to create a beach management plan for Sidmouth has taken to the skies as new aerial photographs could be the final ‘piece of the puzzle’.


An image taken by the fixed wing drone on Thursday.

A fixed-wing drone flew over the town on Thursday to capture up-to-date images of erosion from the beach and shoreline below Cliff Road, so that consultants can analyse erosion rates for their baseline coastal process reports.

These stunning images are the result of the project.

East Devon District Council commissioned the survey after the last meeting of the steering group for the Sidmouth beach management plan.

The plan will look at maintaining and improving the town’s costal defences in the long-term.


An image taken by the fixed wing drone on Thursday.

Tony Burch, assistant project manager, said: “We are gathering more up-to-date information about the cliffs. This extra piece of information is the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle.”

After appeals to residents for pictures of the beach and cliffs, the addition of the new photographs will determine the amount of wearing down that has happened over the past 20 years since the installation of the rock groynes. The project has faced criticism from residents over the time it has taken, but Mr Burch assured them their views are being heard.

“This project recognises there has been a lot of frustration from local people and a lot of consternation about the rate of erosion over 20 years,” he said.

Mr Burch added that the project needs to ‘quantify residents’ concerns with good science’ by analysing the erosion rate throughout the decades - allowing them to measure whether the installation of rock groynes 20 years ago has done its job. The project will also be able to record the impact of the recent shingle replenishment.


The lightweight droneon Sidmouth beach this week. Ref shs 0820-12-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Mr Burch added that residents’ assistance was vital to creating the plan, adding: “It is really important that the public is involved. It is no good doing a project and then talking to people. It is their town at the end of the day we just there to help. They know their cost, they have watched it changing over the years.

“They fish along the coast, the fisherman and the sailors now how the beach is changing.”


Cliff erosion pictured from the skies - News - Sidmouth Herald
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1 comment:

justin albert said...

Very nice experience to read your most informative article.

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