Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Sidmouth Beach Management Plan >>> and Pennington Point: "We need to do something before it’s too late."

There are basically two options for Sidmouth's seafront - new 'hammer-head groynes' or new reefs:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Beach Management Plan >>> "Your views on potential solutions would be appreciated"
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Beach Management Plan >>> considering the consultants' proposals >>> further reports

This is the most recent output from the steering group - and their proposals have been reported in the professional press:


News // January 27, 2016

A shortlist of coastal and flood defence options to deliver the aims of the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan (BMP) project is to be developed, following a meeting of the BMP Steering Group with East Devon District Council’s BMP project team on 15 January 2016.

The BMP’s aims are to maintain the standard of flood protection provided by the existing sea defences and to reduce the rate of erosion at East Cliff.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a report by the council’s consultants C2HM on their appraisal of a long list of options (the report was sent to the Sidmouth BMP Steering Group in December 2015) and to consider which options should be taken forward to the short list for a more detailed assessment by CH2M in respect of costs and technical issues, as well as amenity, regeneration and environmental matters.

The project’s steering group, which comprises a cross-section of East Devon District Council’s partners, including Devon County Council, Natural England, South West Water and the Environment Agency, as well as local interest groups and councillors, provided highly valuable feedback on the options in the report.

The group was in general agreement about which options should be taken forward to the short list for more detailed appraisal, but before finally deciding, they requested a number of clarifications to inform their final choice.

The council will be working closely with CH2M to revise the long list appraisal report for the group. Once the shortlist has been finalized and appraised by CH2M, the project team is planning a series of further consultations with the steering group and members of the public on the action plan and preferred options to deliver the aims of the BMP

The steering group also took the opportunity to discuss how the BMP may complement the regeneration study for the Port Royal area, which is currently being undertaken by Sidmouth Town Council. It also discussed whether it may be beneficial to access funding through Coastal Community teams in the future and whether there are short term actions acceptable to the relevant statutory bodies to reduce erosion at Pennington Point.

It is anticipated that by late summer 2016 the production of the draft BMP, together with supporting documents will have been completed. This will be followed by a four week consultation on the draft BMP and then the finalisation of the Plan. Following which East Devon District Council will prepare a detailed business case to access DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) funding.

Commenting on the progress being made on the BMP, the Chairman of the BMP Steering Group, Councillor Andrew Moulding said: “It is important that we considerer all the available and relevant options to ensure the future health and longevity of Sidmouth and East beaches. This is a difficult environmental balancing act, with many implications for each of the options that we are currently appraising.

“Maintenance and repair action, as well as the construction of new protective structures are all being assessed with care as it is critical that none of the options should compromise or impact on the integrity of environmental features. Once the short list options have been agreed, we can look forward to identifying and implementing the most appropriate management scheme aimed at addressing flood risk and coastal erosion affecting Sidmouth and East Beach. I would like to thank our Steering Group for their tireless input and assistance in this project and for contributing so much of their time and expertise into helping us formulate a clear coastal management plan for Sidmouth and East Beach.”

The aim is to develop a Beach Management Plan (BMP) that defines how monitoring and maintenance works along the beach frontage are to be carried out for the purpose of Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) over the next five years. At the same time it sets out measures for the longer‐term management of the frontage, having appraised the longer term viability of options over a 100 year planning horizon as part of developing the BMP.

UK: steering group considers Sidmouth and East Beach management plan - Dredging News Online

But things seem to be taking on some urgency, as this piece in the latest Herald shows:

Fears for Sidmouth seafront: ‘Do something before it’s too late’

19:30 17 February 2016 Stephen Sumner

Cliffs east of the river mouth this week. Ref shs 06-16SH 4002. Picture: Simon Horn

Devon’s flooding boss has expressed fears that Sidmouth’s sewage system could grind to a halt if the town’s coastal erosion cannot be brought under control.

After the recent wild weather, Councillor Stuart Hughes fears that the Ham’s sewage pumping station could be ‘overwhelmed’ and said it needs protecting - and now, writes Stephen Sumner.

East Devon’s MP Hugo Swire also says any necessary work will have his ‘full support’.

However, East Devon District Council (EDDC), which is leading a long-term plan to protect the beach, told the Herald that there is no government funding available for immediate intervention.

“If the sewage pumping station was affected, Sidmouth would close down,” said Cllr Hughes. “Where would all the sewage go? How can you have a holiday resort without a sewage system? We need to do something before it’s too late.”

South West Water (SWW) has played down any concerns.

EDDC is drawing up a beach management plan (BMP) for the town and a draft of it is expected in the autumn. However, the implementation of any protection scheme could take years.

Mr Swire said: “This is a prime example of why it is absolutely vital that we deal with the problem of cliff erosion at Pennington Point and improve Sidmouth’s flood defences. This has been an ongoing issue since I was first elected as MP in 2001, and I am pleased that progress is finally being made with the publication of the BMP. However, it is likely that the BMP will not be implemented for another five years, so interim measures might be needed. Any necessary measure will, of course, have my full support. Generally speaking, I believe that any solution which addresses the problem of cliff erosion and the Alma Bridge needs to be part of a wider redevelopment that includes Port Royal and the Ham.”

Sewage is pumped from The Ham up to the treatment works at Sidford and final effluent is discharged out to sea.

A spokeswoman for SWW said the ‘substantial reinforced concrete’ pumping station is not considered to be at ‘significant or immediate risk’ of structural damage by the sea. It has an overflow it can operate in the event of it becoming overwhelmed by surface water.

An EDDC spokeswoman said there is currently no government funding available for interim measures to protect the seafront while the BMP is being drafted and funding would need to be found elsewhere. She added that a repair project to stabilise the training wall and retaining wall at Port Royal is under way.

“The timeframe for work to start on the main scheme depends on the preferred option coming out of the BMP, but we are looking to complete the funding application to the Government as soon as practicable,” said the spokeswoman.

Among potential protection works being considered in the BMP are options to remove rock groynes from the main beach and raise the height of the sea wall. Other pssibilities are the construction of new groynes off the east beach, a replacement promenade at Jacob’s Ladder and a continuation of shingle recycling.

Fears for Sidmouth seafront: ‘Do something before it’s too late’ - News - Sidmouth Herald
Breaking news & sport in Sidmouth | Sidmouth Herald

With comment from the EDW blog:
Sidmouth beach erosion: support – but no money | East Devon Watch

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