Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Beach Management Plan >>> frequently asked questions >>> last updated 6th September: and still fail to address explicitly the arguments against and in favour of offshore reefs to create a self-sustaining sand tombolo

District Council officers updated the FAQs on the Beach Management Plan project last month:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan >>> frequently asked questions >>> last updated 23rd August

However, the newly-updated FAQs still fail to address explicitly the arguments against and in favour of offshore reefs to create a self-sustaining sand tombolo on the eastern end of the esplanade and on the eastern beach.

FAQ 2: Despite it saying it's been updated, there are in fact no changes:

2. Why does Sidmouth need a beach management plan?

Beach Management Plans act as a guide for East Devon for management of the beach and hard coastal defences with a view to managing the risk of flooding and erosion to properties and community infrastructure. 
In Sidmouth, the BMP will help East Devon determine the most appropriate way to maintain the protection provided by Sidmouth Beach (and its associated defences) and reduce the rate of erosion at East Beach.
The beach management plan provides the evidence base which will allow East Devon to access funding from Central Government known as Flood & Coastal Risk Management Grant in Aid.

Last updated 5 September 2017

FAQ 5: When it was updated on 27th August, it indicated that the Steering Group has yet to identify a preferred option. At its meeting of 15th March, members of the SG did not endorse EDDC's recommended "preferred option" as the sole option for consideration but requested further modelling (and costing estimates) on the engineering consultants' environmentally preferred recommended offshore reefs option. It is anticipated that the minutes from that meeting will clarify this position, in time for the next meeting on 15th September.

However, the updated FAQ 5 from 6th September states that "Option S1 has been identified as the preferred option":

5. What happens once the Beach Management Plan is completed?

Option S1 has been identified as the preferred option and we have begun work on the outline design and business case  to submit to the Environment Agency for approval of Government funding (Flood & Coastal Risk Management Grant in Aid).
The outline design and business case work is a new project, and more information can be found on our website.
Following approval, detailed design and applications for statutory consents (such as planning permission) will be required, prior to the preferred BMP scheme being tendered and construction starting on site.

Last updated 6 September 2017

FAQ 7: This was updated in July, and yet it still says that Officers will be reporting back to the "June Meeting" of the BMP Steering Group. As the BMP is an essential element in decisions about Port Royal, developments that are now under active discussion, it is hoped that accurate and clear FAQs on the BMP are presented in the public domain.

FAQ 8: "The completion date for the BMP has moved back to Autumn 2016" has been replaced by "The BMP was adopted by East Devon in April 2017."

8. Why has the Beach Management Plan taken longer than expected?

The BMP was originally due to be completed in September 2015, however there were delays in obtaining critical data on previous projects and works at Sidmouth, as well as requests from the BMP steering group to take into account additional anecdotal evidence, to provide more detail on the options appraisal and to work with community groups to consider what level of partnership funding is realistic. The BMP was adopted by East Devon in April 2017.

Last updated 6 September 2017

FAQ 12: "And rock groynes" has been added:

12. What has caused the most recent erosion at East Beach? Do you expect it to return to normal historic rates?

The current period of rapid cliff recession and low beach levels is indicated to have begun in the late 1980s / early 1990s. Whist this is broadly coincident with construction of the offshore breakwaters and rock groynes on Sidmouth beach, other periods of low beach and rapid cliff loss have occurred previously, with several large cliff failures shown at Pennington Point and along East Cliff in the past.
This suggests the cause of cliff recession seen in recent years is not related to the breakwaters, and is more likely to be a function of low beach levels (due to persistent South-Westerly storms), particularly wet weather since 2000, erosion along the more vulnerable bedrock joints, erosion of a greater thickness of weak sediments capping the cliffs at Pennington Point, and, in the early 1990s at least, erosion of a tunnel excavated along the base of the cliffs.
Over the longer term, erosion rates are expected to return to the lower historic rate but given the large uncertainties over the geology as well as future storms and climate conditions it is very difficult to predict when this might be.

Last updated 6 September 2017

FAQ 17: This promises liaison between the Port Royal project and the BMP. The success of Port Royal depends on clarity about the BMP. This is becoming an urgent issue that was raised at the packed public meeting last month:

17. How are you making sure the BMP complements the work at Port Royal?

The Port Royal redevelopment is being led by Sidmouth Town Council with support from East Devon. Representatives from both organisations sit on the respective steering groups to ensure continued liaison across the two projects.

Last updated 24 February 2017

Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: Frequently Asked Questions - What is a beach management plan? - East Devon
Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan - East Devon

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