Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Beach Management Plan: all agencies support both options

Two options are being considered for protecting Sidmouth's seafront - but the cash needs to be found for both the project 

... and for further testing: 

The Herald reports on the latest from the Beach Management Plan:
Sidmouth beach management plan: way forward is agreed to help maintain a healthy eastern beach - News - Sidmouth Herald

With the District Council's press release from last week:

BMP project team meets with public agencies to discuss coastal flood and erosion options for Sidmouth

29 September 2016

Natural England, Jurassic Coast Team, Environment Agency and East Devon AONB in agreement on need to have a healthy beach in Sidmouth 

Following a meeting of the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan (BMP) project steering group on 17 August 2016, East Devon District Council’s BMP project team and its consultants CH2M have met with representatives from Natural England, the Jurassic Coast Team, Environment Agency (EA) and East Devon AONB to discuss the preferred option for long term coastal flood and erosion across Sidmouth Town Beach and East Beach.

The project team explained that although offshore breakwaters (Option S4) were preferred technically, and potentially have less environmental impact, it was concluded that Option S1 (one or two groynes on East Beach) has a more realistic chance of obtaining the required partnership contributions locally which is necessary to unlock the government funding required and therefore more likely to be implemented in the necessary timescales.

All the agencies are in agreement that whilst it may be more in keeping with the environmental designations in this area to allow the continued erosion of the cliffs at East Beach, it is desirable to reduce the rate of erosion for cliff top residents and to reduce the impact of waves on Sidmouth defences by maintaining a healthier beach on East Beach.

The shortlisted options are all likely to have a significant affect on the environmental and landscape designations at East Beach. Option S4 would primarily affect the setting of these designations (the landscape and seascape), as well as altering the views from the AONB and affecting below water habitats.
Alternatively, Option S1, in addition to these impacts, may in part directly impact the designated geology itself.

The agencies are all satisfied that the council will seek to minimise as far as practicable the impacts of any beach management scheme during the outline and detailed design phase of the project. For example by offsetting groynes from the cliff face, or limiting the height or extent of any structure.

No guarantee can be given at these early stages that a technically viable beach management scheme would be environmentally acceptable. However all of the agencies are supportive of Option S1 or S4, subject to the council providing more detailed environmental assessments during outline and detail design, and with particular emphasis on:

> landscape (and seascape) visual impact assessment
> geomorphological and coastal processes assessment 
> ecological assessment 

The agencies are committed to working constructively with the council and the EA throughout the design process, to guide the implementation of a beach management scheme for Sidmouth and East Beach.
Councillor Andrew Moulding, Chairman of the BMP Steering Group, said:

We are extremely grateful for Natural England, the Jurassic Coast Team, Environment Agency and East Devon AONB’s support throughout the development of the beach management plan and welcome their continued support for measures to maintain a healthier beach on East Beach.

East Devon looks forward to continuing to work constructively with environmental bodies, the local community and the EA to implement a beach management scheme across Sidmouth and East Beach

We’re pleased that through the beach management plan process, we’ve been able to agree a way forward to help maintain a healthy beach at East Beach, while respecting East Devon’s unique and internationally recognised coastline. 

29 September 2016 - BMP project team meets with public agencies to discuss coastal flood and erosion options for Sidmouth - East Devon

Meanwhile, attempts are afoot to fund the project:

£9m to protect Sidmouth beach? ‘It’s worth a shot’

07 October 2016 Stephen Sumner

Eve Mathews, of Sidmouth, took this dramatic photo of a cliff fall in 2009.

‘Post-apocalyptic’ views of the seafront have seen a Sidmothian launch an unlikely fundraising bid - to net £9million in three weeks.

Richard Bissett has launched a £9million crowd-funding campaign to fund Sidmouth's beach management plan

Richard Bissett said achieving the ‘astronomical’ amount for a defence scheme – the highest crowdfunding website JustGiving would allow – was ‘worth a shot’.

He wants the cash to go towards the £11million needed in partnership funding to install series of offshore breakwaters intended to slow erosion and maintain a healthy beach.

CCTV installation company managing director Richard, who was born in Sidmouth and hopes to move back permanently from Northamptonshire next year, told theHerald: “The options available for shoring up the seafront have been under discussion for years and we are no further forward, yet cliff falls are happening with an alarming regularity.

“Standing at Port Royal and looking east now looks positively post-apocalyptic, with the sea smashing into the cliffs.

“The latest report suggests that if all parties can agree and if the necessary funding can be found, that nothing will happen for four to six years. This may be too little, too late. We need to act now to guarantee that the picturesque Sidmouth seafront stays picturesque.

“I thought that maybe this can be speeded up if enough people are aware and care. If this [fundraiser] went viral, the sky’s the limit.”

He said Keith Owen had left his £2.3million fortune to the town and ‘you never know’ who else might be willing to put their hand in their pocket.

The breakwater scheme is one of two options being considered as part of the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan (BMP). The other - requiring £2.3million - would see one or two rock groynes built on East Beach.

A spokeswoman for BMP leader East Devon District Council thanked ‘public-spirited’ Richard and said she hopes his gesture will resonate with others to assist the town’s funding challenge.

She added: “Ultimately, if the council wishes to obtain funding from central government, we must first prove to the Environment Agency that any partnership funding contributions are secure. Realistically, the earliest date that construction could begin would be 2019/2020. However, experience has shown that the process of securing partnership funding could add another five to six years on top – and even then it may not be successful.

“Despite this, we are encouraged by the level of support that the project has received and we look forward to working in partnership with the people of Sidmouth to achieve the right outcome for the town.”

To support Richard’s campaign, visit

£9m to protect Sidmouth beach? ‘It’s worth a shot’ - Home - Sidmouth Herald.

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