New beach huts to slow cliff erosion?

“Wish you were sheer? These beach huts will be built into a 100ft cliff if plans get the OK.

The 28 “pods” will rest on stilts, with the top tier 35ft up, and are designed to help stop erosion at Poole, Dorset.

The prices of the huts have not yet been confirmed but it is likely to be tens of thousands of pounds.

Earlier this week a 6.5ft x 14ft one-room beach hut in Christchurch – just 12 miles along the coast from Swanage – went on sale for £80,000.

Each of the huts will have 140sq ft of floor space and balconies providing panoramic views of the beach and sea.

They will sit on stilts that will act as pile foundations and will be drilled into the ground to improve the stability of the cliff. …”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/eco-friendly-beach-huts-built-18979551

A poignant planning application on the 75th anniversary of D-Day (and enthusiastically supported by Clinton Devon Estates)

Brandy Head is a promontory about 1½ miles SSE of Otterton.

In 1940 the RAF opened a gunnery research range here for ground attack fighters. An observation post was built on Brandy Head with blast walls at the rear and a viewing balcony looking seaward. Targets were floated offshore and aircraft such as Typhoons, Hurricanes and Spitfires from 10 Group RAF would fly from Exeter to test turret mounted guns, wing-mounted cannons and later rockets by flying over the observation post to attack the targets anchored at sea.

The utilitarian observation post still stands as a shell, having lost its roof, alongside the Coastal Path only yards from the cliff edge. It is often used by walkers as a place for a coffee break.

The new tenant farmer at Stantyways Farm has recently submitted a planning application 19/0883 to convert the observation post to holiday accommodation.

This raises an interesting debate: is this an example of imaginative re-purposing of a derelict land mark which will ensure its future; should the observation post be left alone to stand as a simple epitaph; or is it the start of a new camping site to rival Ladram Bay and Devon Cliffs on either side?

Owl has noted this passage from the Design and Access Statement supporting the application:

“Clinton Devon Estates have offered Mr and Mrs Walker their support and have stated:

“Clinton Devon Estates recently let Stantyway Farm to Mr and Mrs Walker, we are encouraged by their plans to farm organically and sustainably. Their tender included a wish to convert the lookout into visitor accommodation to make the most of the South West Coast path tourism and we support this diversification and use of the redundant building.

It is essential that the eco-sustainability side is expressed and access is by foot.”

Owl personally just wouldn’t perch overnight that close to the cliff edge!

Perhaps it also needs Listed Building or Heritage Building status?

Coastal communities at high risk within a generation

“Rising sea levels will claim homes, roads and fields around the coast of England, the government’s official advisers have warned, and many people are unaware of the risks they face.

The new report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said existing government plans to “hold the line” in many places – building defences to keep shores in their current position – were unaffordable for a third of the country’s coast. Instead, the CCC said, discussions about the “hard choices” needed must be started with communities that will have to move inland.

“There genuinely will be homes that it will not be possible to save,” said Baroness Brown, chair of the CCC’s adaptation committee. “The current approach is not fit for purpose. This report is really a wake-up call to the fact that we can’t protect the whole English coast to today’s standard.”

She added: “We could see as much as a metre of sea level rise before the end of the century, so within the lifetime of today’s children, and that has a major impact on coastal flooding and erosion.” Prof Jim Hall, another member of the committee, said: “We are not prepared.”

The regions affected include areas with soft, eroding shores in the south and east, as well as low-lying areas in East Anglia, Lincolnshire, parts of the south-west such as the Somerset Levels, and the coast between Liverpool and Blackpool in the north-west.

The entire coast of England is already covered by shoreline management plans, developed by the Environment Agency and local councils. These would cost £18-30bn to implement, but have no funding and no legal force. The CCC analysis found that, for more than 150km of coast, the plans to hold the line would cost more than the property and land that would be protected.

For another 1,460km of coast, the benefit of holding the line was twice the cost, but the government only currently funds defences with at least a sixfold cost-benefit ratio. “Funding for these locations is unlikely and realistic plans to adapt to the inevitability of change are needed now,” said the report.

The report also found that 520,000 properties are already in areas with significant coastal flood risk. However, this may treble to 1.5m by the 2080s without action.

Currently, 8,900 properties are at risk from coastal erosion and in 2014 the Environment Agency calculated that 7,000 homes, worth more than £1bn, would fall into the sea this century. But the CCC report found that in the 2080s another 100,000 properties would be at risk of sliding into the sea.

As well as properties, key infrastructure is also at risk from the sea level rise and bigger storms being driven by climate change. In the 2080s, 1,600km of major roads, 650km of railway line and 92 stations will be at risk, the CCC found. Ports, power stations and gas terminals are also in danger. A further risk is toxic waste from old landfill sites falling into the sea as the coast is eroded; a 2016 study found 1,000 such sites at risk.

Pollution risk from over 1,000 old UK landfill sites due to coastal erosion.

Brown said people living in coastal areas do not have access to good information about the risks they face. “A retired couple could buy, with cash, a house with a fabulous sea view without being given any information about whether it was at risk of erosion,” she said.

Making better information easily available would alarm people but was vital, said Hall. It would also affect property values, he said: “If it was better communicated, as we think it should be, then that would have a [negative] impact on house prices.”

The government must work with local councils on long-term, funded programmes that engage people and help them move if necessary, the CCC said. “Those are very difficult decisions,” said Brown. “Local councils are in a very tough situation having to raise those kind of issues with their communities. There may be a bit of denial going on in local authorities.” …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/26/rising-sea-levels-will-claim-homes-around-english-coast-report-warns

Exmouth: dunes to disappear to replenish beach sand 2020-2025?

Fascinating that one of EDDC’s “old guard” councillors, Ray Franklin, got it SO wrong!

“… Cllr Ray Franklin, the portfolio holder for environment at East Devon District Council back in 2004, said: “The dunes will recover – it’s the way of nature. Sand has been lost, but it’s likely that the next storm will come from a different direction and bring more sand with it.”

And implications for the water sports centre?

“… Exmouth Beach is expected to be depleted over time, with the 2015 Beach Management Plan anticipating that beach recharge (importing new sand onto the beach) may be required between 2020 – 2025. The Beach Management Plan recommends that consideration is given to recycling of the material comprising the dunes to reinforce the beach between the new lifeboat station and Orcombe Point. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/what-happened-exmouths-iconic-sand-1935782

Sidmothians balk at contributing £3 m to flood defences: EDDC accused of “fiddling while Rome burned”

Local people and businesses in a coastal Devon town are being asked to help pay towards the cost of a new £9m flood defence scheme.

Sidmouth’s eastern cliffs, which protect the town from flooding, are vulnerable and eroding at the rate of about a metre a year.

East Devon District Council is asking locals and businesses to contribute £3m towards the project.

But many locals do not see why they should pay, and are accusing the council of having wasted time and money over the last decade, “fiddling while Rome burns”.

[EDDC response:]

“East Devon District Council is completely committed to this project. We have already invested over £500,000 of our own money into the research, investigations and all the other necessary work that is done. If we can find another £3m, we can then unlock funding just under £6m from Defra, who are the primary agency concerned with flood protection.”
Tom Wright
Environment Porfolio, East Devon District Council

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-43712628