Surfers Against Sewage
have been active for some time in Sidmouth
- with a clean-up on the beach a couple of months ago:
Sidmouth beach clean was ‘awesome’
AN ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner is praising the ‘amazing effort’ of volunteers who helped clean up Sidmouth beach at the weekend.
A discarded deck chair, boat parts, fishing line and numerous plastic bottles were just some of the many items picked up as 12 volunteers filled 17 bags of rubbish during a three-hour stint between 11am and 2pm on Saturday, March 29.
Organised by environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage, the clean-up was part of a national campaign tackling 150 beaches around the UK.
“The volunteers did an amazing effort,” said SAS local organiser Ross Curwen. “They worked really hard and put a lot of effort in. I was pleased with the dedication of the people that came out to the Sidmouth clean-up. They did an awesome job.”
Probably the oddest item recovered was the discarded deck chair. “It was metal framed one, not a rented one, so impossible to know where it had come from,” said Ross. “And we had many plastic bottles, which although you can tell brands you can never know how far they’ve come.”
Ross was pleased with the turnout. “Twelve for Sidmouth is quite good, and more than we had last time,” he said. “It’s one of the harder areas for Surfers Against Sewage because it doesn’t have the watersports activities that, say, Exmouth does, but 12 volunteers is all right. It’s growing, which is why I’m keen to keep plugging away at it.”
He plans to hold another clean-up in the autumn, but, if the beach gets ‘in a bad way’ he will arrange an additional one in the next few months. A similar beach clean-up took place in Exmouth on Sunday, when 35 volunteers collected 34 bags of rubbish.
In fact, SAS has been very active in not only with the practical side:
... but has actively campaigned for better quality beaches - notably in the South West:
Last year there were specific warnings for East Devon:
But this year, the beaches are 'excellent':
And although the beach garden at Sidmouth's western beach was partially destroyed by the winter storms:
... there are plans to restore the feature:
Meanwhile, at the eastern end of the esplanade, there have been long-standing concerns about improving sea defences - which would help allay threats to the town, including pollution, as this letter to the Herald from four years ago pointed out:
Can we afford not to take action?Sir - So we awake on Friday morning, July 16, to find the sea around Sidmouth contaminated with sewage as a direct result of the inclement weather the night before
I wonder if it was a surprise to our local councillors. It certainly was not to those of us who campaign for improved sea defences. If nothing is done to bolster the eastern cliffs against further rapid erosion, we can expect this and other more serious situations to occur in future.
A number of us had been invited to meet with a Pathfinder Group on Tuesday, July 20 to discuss how we, as a town, can “adapt” to the changing conditions brought about by climate change. What this terminology really means, of course, is that we have to be convinced by those who govern us to “accept” our town will, in the near future, fall into the sea...
Tony Miller: Cliff Road: Chairman - SAFE
The main sewage tanks for Sidmouth lie at the corner of the Ham where the River Sid enters the sea beneath Pennington Point:
- and there have been concerns voiced that this is particularly vulnerable:
Community Engagement Brief for Regenerating the Port Royal and Ham area,
Sidmouth Eastern Town.
o The Sewage Plant operated by SWW, under the southern Ham and with associated buildings, hard standing for cranes and other vehicles, is a major investment asset
o The Flood Defence system along the west bank of the river and owned by the Environment Agency is a major investment asset
o The grass area at the south of the Ham is vulnerable due to the lack of topsoil over the sewage works.
Back in 2003, there was consideration of protection of Pennington Point - including the sewage pumping station:
East Devon District: Proposed Rock Revetment Designed to Reduce Erosion of the
Cliff Face at Pennington Point, Sidmouth
The option to ‘do nothing’ was also investigated but discounted by the District Council because of the potential loss of Alma Bridge, River Sid wall, the Ham Sewage Pumping Station and the properties along Cliff Road over a 30-40 year period. [The implications of this option are shown on a plan attached to this report at Appendix I].
Following a rather unpleasant incident a couple of months ago:
... and following the intervention of the local MP:
... South West Water will be cleaning up the drains in Sidmouth as of tomorrow:
There will always be the question, however, of how well the infrastructure, including the sewage system, can cope with any new development:
Futures Forum: Persimmon, Sidmouth and "promoting well-designed housing that is sustainable and provides much-needed new housing..."