Exmouth beach management group gets underway

A new Exmouth beach management plan (BMP) steering group, made up of local beach users, organisations and district and county councillors, has met for the first time.

Radio Exe News www.radioexe.co.uk 

They say that although sand volumes on Exmouth Beach remain constant, there have been dramatic changes with some areas losing considerable amounts while other areas are gaining sand. 

Some years ago, there was a spat between Exmouth and Dawlish, with the former accusing the Teignbridge town of stealing its sand. The culprit turned out to be erosion, with sand being transported west.

Now movement of sand around Exmouth beach has led to old structures – such as beach hut timber foundations, old jetties, former groynes, and metal pipes – being exposed.

The BMP is a document to outline what actions can be taken to manage the beach. It may go on to suggest physical measures such as additional groynes, for which further funding would be required. The BMP will look at the cost of any proposed measures and the feasibility of East Devon District Council being able to secure outside funding.

Government funding for flood and coastal protection schemes are only available to protect homes and properties at risk. Areas around Exmouth’s seafront and estuary have recently undergone substantial multi-million pound flood protection measures, organised by the Environment Agency.

East Devon councillor Paul Millar (Labour, Exmouth Halsdon) is to be the BMP’s chairperson. The group has agreed its ‘terms of reference.’  The next step is to agree on how far reaching the study should be, and what outcomes are required. They will appoint consultants to investigate the causes and any potential remedies to return the appropriate beach levels to protect the shoreside properties, the sea wall, car parks, and the road.

Cllr Millar said: “I am delighted to be chairing the work of this vital steering group which unites the expertise of our council’s engineers, the Environment Agency and relevant local stakeholders such as the RNLI, to urgently address issues caused by storms, floods and cliff erosion.

“This is major and urgent project in which the end goal is to better protect and enhance the jewel in Exmouth’s crown. Around the lifeboat station, we have pipes sticking out the ground and putting the safety of our residents and visitors at risk.

“Our work starts immediately with our priority to work with the RNLI to repair the sea walls and extend the ramp, so it reaches the sea. Our biggest challenge will be securing external funding for managing the physical nature of the beach.”

EDDC Portfolio holder for coast country and environment, Cllr Geoff Jung added: “Everyone who knows Exmouth beach is concerned at the recent changes to both the Estuary and the beach, and we need to first understand why these changes are happening and then to formulate a plan to return the beach levels for the benefit of holiday makers and local people as best we can, but aware of the impact of climate change and sea level rise as well as the limited funding available, this is going to be a challenging project.”

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