Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Beach Management Plan >>> frequently asked questions >>> last updated 23rd August

Several coastal towns in East Devon have plans to manage their beaches:
Beach Management Plans - East Devon

The Plan for Sidmouth is being put together:
Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan - East Devon

If you look at the FAQs for this plan
Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: Frequently Asked Questions - East Devon

... questions 12 and 18 were updated today. 
- But why these?
- And why have others which are clearly inaccurate not been updated?

1. What is a beach management plan?

A Beach Management Plan (BMP) is a plan for managing a beach at a local level for the purpose of Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management, taking into account and, where possible promoting or enhancing the other uses and functions of a beach.

Last updated 16 June 2016

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 2 May 2017

3. What area of Sidmouth does the Beach Management Plan cover?

The Sidmouth Beach Management Plan covers from Jacob's Ladder in the west to East Beach in the east. It also includes the River Sid up to the first weir encountered upriver from the sea.  
Please see our interactive maps showing the extents and sections of the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan.  

Last updated 2 May 2017

4. What are the aims Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan?

The specific aims of the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan are as follows:

1. Maintain the 1990’s Sidmouth Coastal Defence Scheme Standard of Service (protection against flooding and erosion).
2. Reduce the rate of beach and cliff erosion to the east of the River Sid (East Beach).
3. Carry out (1) and (2) in an integrated, justifiable and sustainable way.

Last updated 2 May 2017

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

Once the BMP has identified a preferred option we will begin 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). This outline design and business case work will be a separate project following completion of the BMP project.
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 21 August 2017

6. Who will pay for a beach management scheme?

Funding for beach management projects from Government comes through what is known as Flood & Coastal Risk Management Grant in Aid (FCRMGiA) via a process administered by the Environment Agency. The amount of FCRMGiA a project is eligible for is linked to the predicted damages from flooding and coastal erosion, as well as the number of residential properties benefitting from a reduction in risk.
Where the amount of FCRMGiA for an eligible project is less than the total cost of a scheme, the shortfall has to be made up through partnership contributions. Typically, partnership contributions are sought from beneficiaries of a project such as infrastructure owners (utility companies, highways authorities etc), local communities, businesses and developers. This is referred to as partnership funding.
All the BMP options currently being considered will require an element of partnership funding.

Last updated 2 May 2017

7. Why aren’t you doing something now?

We are currently looking at interim options to reduce erosion at East Beach whilst the BMP is completed and implemented, and we will be reporting back to the steering group at the June meeting.

Last updated 25 July 2017

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

The BMP was originally due to be completed in September 2015, however following delays in obtaining critical data on previous projects and works at Sidmouth, and requests from the BMP steering group to take into account additional anecdotal evidence and to provide more detail on the options appraisal the completion date for the BMP has moved back to Autumn 2016.

Last updated 24 July 2017

9. Who are the steering group?

The Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan steering group is made up of:

East Devon District Council
Cliff Road Action Group
Vision Group for Sidmouth
Sidmouth Sailing Club
Local Fishermen
Sidmouth Town Council
Devon County Council
Natural England
National Trust
Jurassic Coast Team
Environment Agency

Last updated 8 August 2017

10. What do the steering group do?

The steering group provides an important link between the community, businesses, regulatory bodies and our consultants, CH2M. The steering group meet at key points during the project, where the technical analysis can be explained, queries can be raised and actions agreed to take forward the BMP to the next stage.

Last updated 17 July 2017

11. Who are CH2M?

CH2M are an international firm of consultants, with a local office in Exeter. They were previously known as Halcrow Group Ltd. They have decades of coastal management and coastal engineering experience in the UK, including along the East Devon Coastline. Amongst other things, CH2M produced the Shoreline Management Plan for the area and Beach Management Plans for Exmouth, Lyme Regis, West Bay, Burton Bradstock and Chesil Beach at Portland. They were also lead authors of the CIRIA Beach Management Manual which is an international manual of best practice for all aspects of beach management, and is the basis for BMPs throughout the UK.

Last updated 2 May 2017

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, 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 23 August 2017

13. Why are historic rates of erosion slower than the erosion we see now?

The analysis undertaken as part of the BMP has concluded that here have been periods of more rapid erosion at East Beach in the past. East Devon has benefitted from the coastal monitoring program (with numerous surveys of Sidmouth and East Beach undertaken each year) however this only covers a relatively limited time period (since 2007) and the BMP is reliant upon maps/aerial photographs that can be spaced 10 years or more apart over the longer term.
The average erosion rates across these longer periods tend to be misleading, as we know from our understanding of the geology and behaviour of these cliffs that falls will tend to occur in a small number of discrete events.  Therefore, the BMP has taken all the photographic and map evidence together with anecdotal evidence to infer cliff behaviour over the longer term.

Last updated 24 July 2017

14. What will happen to Alma Bridge?

Devon County Council estimate the existing structure at Alma bridge will need to close this winter (2016/2017) and have in place plans to replace the bridge further upstream in a location less  vulnerable to coastal change.

Last updated 24 February 2017

15. Why wasn't East Beach included in the 2015 beach recycling work? Why can’t we move beach material from Salcombe Hill further West?

Moving sediment from Sidmouth Beach to East Beach was excluded from the 2015 beach recycling works for a number of reasons, primarily as this would have reduced the available sediment on Sidmouth Beach and increased the risk of flooding and erosion to Sidmouth.
Moving sediment from further East was also ruled out, as without any controlling structure at East Beach there is no guarantee on how long the sediment would be retained, there would also be access and safety issues with working along this beach close to unstable cliffs.

Last updated 24 February 2017

16. Why does some of the analysis show the cliffs “growing towards France”?

The error within the historic mapping, or aerial photography used as the basis for the BMP can be greater than the rate of erosion at that time. This is normal when using historic data sets, with error both within the survey undertaken at that time or when referencing older data to more recent mapping.
The resulting erosion rates could appear on the face of it to show the cliffs advancing as opposed to retreating (or not moving) as would be expected.
The transect method for measuring erosion has been used by CH2M partly to avoid areas of the largest error with the historic datasets.

Last updated 24 February 2017

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

18. Why is using rock armour to protect the base of the cliff being ruled out?

Planning applications for a rock revetment on East Beach have been recommended for refusal by the Local Planning Authority and subsequently withdrawn by the applicants on two previous occasions, most recently in 2011. Objections from multiple agencies including Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Jurassic Coast Team and the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty can be found in the most recent planning application.
Natural England's objections include:
  • Incompatibility with the shoreline management plan (SMP2) policy
  • Likely to have an adverse impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site
  • Insufficient information was provided to consider the impacts on the Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the effects further along the coast
  • Landscape impacts
  • Insufficient consideration of alternative options

The BMP has been undertaken to consider the alternative options, which are more likely to receive planning and marine consents.
Information on the importance of the geology on East Beach has been provided by the Jurassic Coast Team and can be found here.
A position statement from Natural England and the Jurassic Coast Team in regards to a rock revetment at East Beach can be found here.

Last updated 23 August 2017

19. Rock armouring can be seen to be effective on East Beach, so why are groynes being proposed which will require maintenance of the beach?

Similarly groyne bays can been seen to be working well on Sidmouth Town Beach, retaining a healthy beach here. There are numerous other successful examples  elsewhere around the coast.
As part of the next stage for any option, we’ll need to make sure both ourselves and the EA have confidence that the solution will be effective in order to get approval from their project review board.

Last updated 24 July 2017

20. Why isn't the rock used which is more in keeping with the setting?

Rock armour is primarily reliant on its mass to stay in place, so very dense rock like granite which is available in suitably sized pieces and will last a long time tends to be used.
We can ask the consultant for the next stage to consider whether there are other types of rock which can be sourced which may be more in keeping, but typically the geology in this area is quite soft.

Last updated 1 March 2017

21. Why haven’t rock armouring options of shorter lengths, and offset from the cliffs been considered?

6 different configurations of rock armour were included in the long list appraisal, including variations on length, offset from the cliffs and in combination with cliff top drainage/netting. The steering group were in agreement that none of the rock revetment options should proceed to the next stage for both technical, and environmental reasons.

Last updated 24 July 2017

22. An application for rock armouring would take less time

If we were to take forwards rock armouring as the preferred option we’d still need to go through the same process of investigations and approval, including assessments of the various environmental aspects. Whilst the design itself of the rock armour may be simpler, it’s unlikely to significantly reduce the programme going forwards.
There would also be the additional risks for a rock armouring scheme of:
  • The Outline Business Case wouldn’t be approved, as the EA may have insufficient confidence that the scheme would get planning (and marine planning) consent given the two previous unsuccessful applications for rock  armour in this location
  • DEFRA (via the EA) may be reluctant to approve the OBC for a scheme which Natural England (another part of DEFRA) have advised against through the BMP process
  • That planning (and marine planning) wouldn’t be approved leading to appeals, or may be referred to the secretary of state which delay the process (and add to the costs) still further

Last updated 24 July 2017

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

No comments: