Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Beach Management Plan: and the consistency of the frustrations faced by the volunteer stakeholders >>> steering group to meet tomorrow, Thursday 10th May

The BMP steering group is meeting up again tomorrow: 

The location of the next steering group meeting is Kennaway House, Sidmouth, EX10 8NG and we will be meeting at 10am Thursday 10th May.

Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan - East Devon

This is following on from the exhibition and public consultation:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: the panels in detail
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: consultation ends Thurs 3rd May

Here are the notes from the March meeting:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: meeting Thursday 15th March >>> further reports

And here is the comment from the Vision Group representative on the steering group:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: meeting Thursday 15th March >>> report

Finally, here are the comments sent today to the project manager from the VGS rep: 

I paste below an extract from my memo of 12th March 2017 which illustrates the consistency of the frustrations faced by the Steering Group's volunteer stakeholders.

1. CH2M and EDDC continue to fail to provide basic information on the capital cost and and maintenance cost of the options. We don't even know how many meters of rock are under discussion. They have at last admitted that the preposterous estimates used in the sham consultation in August 2016 were based on erroneous calculations but they continue to withhold any details.

2. Ongoing egregious miscalculation clearly applies also to the historical rate of erosion at the Eastern Beach over the past 20 years. The latest EDDC press release on the reasons for accelerating cliff erosion is a further example of anti-scientific alternative facts.

3. Corrections to the minutes of previous meetings have been continuously and repetitively erased from the record without acknowledgement. This suggests EITHER that CH2M and EDDC have dug themselves into a deep hole of misinformation from which they cannot easily escape; OR that they are politely ignoring the collective "stupidity" of the Steering Group's obsessive concern about the facts.

I also paste below an extract from my memo of June 2017 that was tabled for the September 2017 BMP SG meeting (but no discussion was recorded in that meeting's notes):

Those of us who have undertaken many years of open-minded investigation into the realistic options, and the risks, along the whole World Heritage Coast have important suggestions to inform the next stage of the project scoping. E.g.

  • Thus far, no account has been taken of Mary Bagwell's advice, based on discussions with SWW, about the existential threat to the Ham sewage station posed by salt water intrusion as a result of rising sea levels and/or cliff erosion.
  • We await an evaluation of the beneficial effects on the western end of the Esplanade of the "rock islands" in creating a self-sustaining sand tombolo, in evident contrast to the costly shingle-recharging needed on the less tourist-friendly beach with ugly rock groynes near Port Royal.
  • As the existing rock islands appear to be over-engineered, we have also suggested an aesthetic advantage could be achieved by reducing their height and using the spare rocks to build option 1 or 4a or 4b.
  • Steering Group members who value Sidmouth’s tourist amenity prefer option S4b because it replicates the existing off-shore breakwaters which have proved very effective in creating a wide, sandy tombolo with a shallow sloping beach, with an evident benefit for tourism.
  • We have reservations about option S1 because it involves keeping the existing rock groynes on the main beach, which have been shown not to work well as they repeatedly lose the shingle, which is a critical part of the sea defence. They also create steep shingle beaches with narrow sandy areas, neither of which is good for tourism.
  • S1 not only proposes retaining these groynes but also building one or two more rock groynes on East Beach, whereas restoring the tourist beaches east of the Sid, similar to the natural environment of 20 years ago, offers the prospect of a self-sustaining system for the coming 100 years.
  • A realistic cost estimate for this 100 year project taking full account of the comparative cost of recurring recharges of the shingle, as opposed to self-sustaining tombolos has yet to be developed.
  • The recommendations in the 2017 BMP rely on Halcrow's predicted erosion rate for the next 100 years. These predictions were projected from their measurements of historic erosion rates using aerial photography for the period 1958 to 2015. A check on their measurements, using Devon CC's land surveys for the period 2012 to 2015, shows the erosion rate at Pennington Point was 3.8 times faster than Halcrow's measurements for the same period. This suggests a systematic historic error, which casts doubt on the predicted future erosion rates. This in turn calls into question the economics of the options in the emerging BMP and threatens the reliability of future appraisal work.
  • In sum, we feel an independent audit is essential.

See also:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: and (again) failing to get answers to technical questions from the District Council
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: moving on, but still with so many unanswered questions
Futures Forum: 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

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