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. …”

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.” …”

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. …”

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

Beach management: a timely warning from Dawlish Warren?

Is it good to go for cheap, short-term beach management plans?

“Storm Doris has caused beach levels at Dawlish Warren to drop. The recent stormy conditions have increased the vulnerability of the dunes, and have led to erosion of the dunes in some areas.

As a result, the schedule of works as part of the £14million scheme to raise the beach level at Dawlish Warren by two metres, as well as removing gabions along the sand spit, upgrading the revetments, dredging and recharging the beach and reinforcing the neck of the sand spit has changed.

A Teignbridge Council spokesman said: “To allow the dunes at Dawlish Warren to behave naturally, a key element of the Beach Management Scheme involves removing the existing stone filled gabion baskets installed along the Warren. Works started on this activity in early February.

“However, following recent stormy conditions the beach levels at Dawlish Warren have dropped dramatically, increasing the vulnerability of the dunes, and leading to erosion of the dunes in some areas. …

Garden shed falls into sea: Sidmouth beach management plan speeds up … on the cheap

“Consultants will soon be appointed to draft the outline business case needed to secure £5.7million in Government funding for a project to shore up Sidmouth seafront.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has begun the tendering process for coastal flooding and erosion experts who will conduct detailed investigations and technical reports for its beach management plan (BMP) for the town.

The chosen consultants will start this April and have until June 2018 to write an outline business case, which will be submitted to the Environment Agency for approval in order to access the funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, who chairs the BMP steering group, said there is a ‘good chance’ of securing the extra £3.3million needed to implement the authority’s preferred BMP scheme, option 1.

But a spokeswoman said EDDC has ‘not yet been able to identify’ where another £9million would come from for more costly defences that experts judged were the best, both technically and environmentally.

The BMP is likely to be implemented in 2019 at the earliest.

As part of the tender process, the consultants will be asked to price up option 1 – to build one or two additional groynes on East Beach, modifications to existing defences and periodic shingle replenishment and recycling.

This scheme was judged to give the best balance between technical viability, environmental acceptability and economic case.

Option 4 – to construct more offshore breakwaters – is still on the table and the consultants will have the option of adding it in if BMP steering group members determine that sufficient funding is available.

In phase one of the project, the consultants will develop computer models to predict how the shoreline will respond to storms and the resulting flood risk.

In the second phase, they will use the computer models from phase one to test and refine the preferred option with the aim of maintaining a healthy beach across both Sidmouth and East Beach.

EDDC is also tendering for surveys of the sea bed and sediment sampling via the South West Coastal Monitoring Programme so that those works can start as soon as possible, once the weather has improved.”

Sidouth shed cliff fall captures Daily Mail attention

Better get a bit of a move on with that beach management plan:

“The huge plume of red smoke left when the rocks collapsed in Sidmouth, Devon, could be seen from miles around and Paul Griew’s shed was left shattered on the rocks below.”

Transcript of Councillor Andrew Moulding’s attempt to explain development on Exmouth Seafront to Simon Bates on BBC radio

Owl’s summary of Moulding’s attempt to explain EDDC’s current “thinking”:

We have been planning Exmouth Sea Front for 6 years and we know exactly what we are doing, even though our preferred bidder Moirai has only got initial ideas and we haven’t yet decided what Phase 3 will consist of or how much it will all cost. And it’s going to be completely built up yet very open – and sand drifts are exactly what everyone wants.”

The interview transcript:

“Simon Bates: In Exmouth a group of badgers are thought to be living near a former crazy golf course on the sea front, and they’re involved in a completely different type of dispute. At stake is the proposed multi-million pound development of the area, seen as crucial for Exmouth by East Devon District Council, but viewed by some locals as a terrible mistake for the town.

In the maelstrom, in the middle of it, trying to keep the peace is Adrian Campbell. Good morning Adrian. … What’s going on?

Adrian Campbell: Well, badgers and crazy golf – it does sound a bit peculiar I agree. On Queen’s Drive on the sea front in Exmouth the district council has plans for a quite a big development there. It’s close to the former crazy golf area. There’s also an amusement arcade nearby, and an old railway carriage cafe used to be there.

Now some of these have already gone, they’ve been fenced off, big changes are planned for an idea originally called Exmouth Splash. There’s been consultation about that before. They want to develop this area. Its close to another development that has already taken place known as Ocean, which is a big bowling area that has been built on the sea front just down from the Premier Inn.

However, on this site are badgers, and local people say that they believe that they were under the crazy golf course. That seems to have been confirmed – not so many of them, as there is a bigger sett further off the site.

We spoke to Louise McAllister from Save Exmouth Seafront…

Louise MacAllister: It was alerted to me by a local resident that there were badgers living in this site up until very recently. So I was a little bit concerned that they had already gone ahead with the demolition, because you have to apply for a license to interfere with a sett, and I am just a little bit worried that East Devon District Council have not had the time to do that.

Simon Bates: Can we talk about East Devon District Council because this sounds like a labyrinthine one, let alone about the sett. What did they tell you?

Adrian Campbell: Well they have confirmed that they have, first of all, found out using an expert, Dr. Julian Brown, that there are two small setts, part of a more significant complex badger sett off the site. However, this is important, they say that they have been working with Natural England and they’ve been given a license to relocated them to a larger sett. And they say, basically, that the work that has been done so far won’t have caused any problem and is perfectly OK. So that is what they are saying, but you have this larger issue, much larger issue, about what’s going to happen in the area and lots of controversy about that.

Simon Bates: Yes. That is a story I hadn’t thought of. Because where do you put badgers, because they don’t automatically go into other badger setts because that is a confrontation situation.

Adrian Campbell: Well they wouldn’t go far apparently. They would go just to the bigger sett nearby, but off the site. That’s what they said.

Simon Bates: But would that be OK with those badgers that already occupy the bigger sett.

Adrian Campbell: I don’t know. I’m not a badger expert.

Simon Bates: No, neither am I. But you know what dogs are like, and basically that’s what we are talking about.

Adrian Campbell: I was just going to say, presumably under the advice of Natural England, it should be OK. But then you’ve got this larger issue about this whole area and the big changes that are being proposed. And, some people have asked about modernising this area.

Effectively, there is a boating lake there with swans on it. It’s a very traditional seaside kind of scene at the moment, or it has been, and what is talked about here is a really big change. Now some people are quite keen on that – other people are slightly concerned about it. We spoke to one gentleman, Robin Rule, and is what he was saying.

Robin Rule: Our main priorities now are to try to preserve the boating lake and the fun park. Because the boating lake and the fun park is in fact the face, the face, of Exmouth Seafront. Millions of people love it, whether you live here, whether you are visiting it from holiday or around. That’s what we want to try to hold onto.

Simon Bates: Its the traditional against the future, isn’t it. The swans on the boating lake – I suppose you can call iconic. And then there are the other attractions that have been there for donkeys years vs. the new face of the seafront, the bowling centre you talked about, the Exmouth Ocean. Which vision do you think will win out?

Adrian Campbell: Well when you look at the plans, and I am looking at a plan that goes back to 2013, a big graphic showing what is proposed. Now the council has told me that it has changed quite a lot, but it’s a really large site. Some have told me locally it would be similar in size to the town centre of Exmouth, but right on the seafront. Now some people are a bit concerned about that, and you will hear from the council in a minute. We spoke to an independent councillor, Megan Armstrong, she’s quite worked up about it.

Cllr Megan Armstrong: What concerns people is that as soon as one building goes up it’s setting the scene for a whole more other buildings going up. And people just don’t want that. They like the openness, they like the facilities that are here because children love them, families love them, and they’re reasonably priced because a lot of people who come here don’t have a lot of money, and they’re families with children, at that’s why we get a lot of people coming here.

Simon Bates: Well, there’s the independent councillor Megan Armstrong. We’ve got, as you’ve hinted there Adrian, Cllr Andrew Moulding.

Good morning Cllr Moulding. Deputy Leader of East Devon District Council.

Adrian Campbell: Cllr, Good Morning. You’ve heard the reaction of some of the people there that we have spoken to. First of all, with the badgers, has the council got it right?

Cllr Andrew Moulding: Well, I heard your report, Adrian, on the situation with the badgers which is exactly as you stated. The council has a license from Natural England and during this sensitive process that is what we have to have. We have, and again you are quite right, we have a badger expert. He’s a leading consultant on badgers in the country, and that is Dr. Julian Brown. He’s identified that these two small setts are part of a more significant complex badger sett which is off the site, and in consultation with Dr Brown, the badgers who are living in these two small badger setts can quite amicably be relocated to the larger sett. And that’s what under the advice of Dr Brown and with the license from Natural England, that is what the council are carrying out.

Adrian Campbell: But what about the scale of this? Because people are saying in the area, people that we spoke to yesterday, and admittedly though a self-selecting group who turned up, but they are talking about the scale of this. I mean, how many millions is this going to cost, and how big is phase one, two and three?

Cllr Andrew Moulding: We don’t know the overall cost of this yet. What we do know is that we have put the project into three phases. The first phase is to relocate the road and the car park, so that the car park is further to the rear of the site and not inhibiting the views across the estuary. Similarly with the road. That will allow access to visitors and residents to the sea front. That will be stage one.

Stage two will be a very exciting water sports centre, built on the …

Adrian Campbell: It’s big isn’t it? It’s going to be very big?

Cllr Andrew Moulding: Oh yes, it’s pretty big, yes. It will, but it will encompass a water sports centre for people who are doing kite-surfing and so on, but also there will be an open-air performance space there, a number of small units that trade in water sports. So the attraction of water sports to Exmouth has always been well known. We already have national competitions at Exmouth and we obviously feel that this is something that will be well appreciated by visitors and locals alike.

Adrian Campbell: But just briefly, do you understand the concerns of local people who are saying that the scale of this dwarfs what has been there in the past traditionally. You’ve got the bowling centre down the road – they say that the council’s taken that on because it wasn’t making enough money, I don’t know whether that’s right or not. But they question whether or not there is the demand for all of this. And they also say this is a special area.

Cllr Andrew Moulding: Yes. There would almost be an anchor at each end. So you’ve got Ocean at one end, you’ll have the water sports centre at the other end, inbetween phase three is the development of what was the old fun park – or still is because we are allowing the tenant of the fun park to trade for another season while the details of that part of the site are being developed – so he will carry on and trade there until such time as we need the site to be vacated so that the phase three work can go ahead. That’s still to be determined …

Simon Bates: Actually, can I just jump in there Councillor Moulding because Adrian can’t ask you this, he’s is far too nice a man. It all sounds a bit woolly.

Cllr Andrew Moulding: No not woolly at all. I mean its a plan that’s been in the offing for about the last six years. Now at last it is coming to fruition. And obviously there are stages one needs to go through to arrange the necessary planning details, and so on. That is going through process at the moment. The first phase, as I say, is to relocate the road, move the car park, and then to get the water sports centre built, and then we can look in more detail at phase three which is the remainder of the site. We very much hope that the majority of the area will be open and free to people to use.

Simon Bates: It’s a very exposed site as well, isn’t it Councillor? You’ve got high seas and sand blowing in during the winter.

Cllr Andrew Moulding: That’s the beauty of the site. I mean, that’s what everybody likes about it. That it is …

Simon Bates: Yes, but your going to build up the whole place aren’t you?

Cllr Andrew Moulding: The water sports centre will have open spaces within it. But its a development which has been well planned, we are working with the …

Adrian Campbell: But you haven’t got drawings or architect’s plans yet, have you? And you haven;t got a developer as I understand, so people are saying that the area’s closed off, and they can’t get to it and use it.

Cllr Andrew Moulding: Well, we have the water sports centre, [sniggering heard in background] and we have a preferred developer in place, Moirai, who have come up with some initial proposals. We are looking closely at those to see if it is exactly what is required, we shall look carefully at that as phase three while the tenant is still on site so that the people of Exmouth can enjoy facilities on the site until we are ready to go forward with the next stage.

Simon Bates: Councillor, thank you very much indeed. Adrian, I think that’s all we are going to get, don’t you?

Adrian Campbell: I know. Thank you, Simon.

[Sounds of laughter from Simon Bates]
Simon Bates: Stay across it. Beaver or should I say badger away. Adrian Campbell, thank you very much indeed.”

Draft Exe Estuary Management Plan 2016-2021 – public consultation today



“Draft Exe Estuary Management Plan 2016-2021

The draft Management Plan covering 2016-2021 for the Exe Estuary is now available through the link above for public consultation, for a six week period from 19th September to 30th October 2016. The plan has been reviewed since the Interim Management Plan 2012-2015, to take into consideration issues and changes that are highlighted in the updated State of the Exe Estuary 2014 report, and outlines policies, and five year objectives to ensure sustainable use of the Exe Estuary for the future.

A public consultation event will be held on Wenesday 5th October from 1pm to 8pm at County Hall, for those that would like to find out more about the Management Plan and offer their feedback. We will be able to offer guidance at the event on how you can best provide feedback during the consultation. In preparation, you may wish to consider these Guidance Questions.

The event will take place at the Council Chamber and Ante Chamber at County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD. Travel information to the venue can be found here. I will be at the Council Chamber to enable access on the day.

If you are unable to make the workshop, please send your comments and observations via email to Please use the above Guidance Questions to help with your response, but we welcome comments on any aspects of the Management Plan. We strongly advise you to respond using ‘Track Changes’ within the document and state whether you are responding as an individual or on behalf of a group or organisation.

Your views are valuable to us and we appreciate your taking the time to read the document and make comments. We will endeavour to reply to everyone who takes part in the consultation (if we have contact details) and will consider all comments that are offered.”

Independent councillor saves the day (again) in Sidmouth

The way of the EDDC world – don’t choose the best long-term option – choose the cheapest short-term option – except when it comes to their own offices,

District chiefs have backed down in the face of united opposition from Sidmouth representatives on a project to shore up the seafront.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) looked set to choose the least expensive scheme, Option 1, but beach management plan (BMP) steering group members said this was putting economics ahead of finding a solution that could protect the town for 100 years.

The authority has agreed to look again to see if £11million can be secured for the ‘technically preferred’ Option 4B, to install breakwaters along the seafront. Option 1, to install one or two groynes at East Beach, would need £2.3million in partnership funding.

EDDC will also sound out key stakeholders on whether they would give their blessing to works that will dramatically change the seafront.

Speaking after Wednesday’s steering group meeting, district councillor Cathy Gardner said: “There was so much opposition in the room to EDDC’s attempts to railroad through Option 1. The BMP is about finding a solution to protect the seafront for the next 100 years, but it’s become about making it affordable. There are so many unknowns. If we find out in a couple of years [the chosen scheme] doesn’t work, we haven’t really achieved anything.”

A report to steering group members from EDDC’s consultants, CH2M, said Option 4B would be the most effective – but it had the ‘worst economic case’, so recommended Option 1.

An EDDC spokeswoman said the authority has done some initial work to look at external funding sources, but securing £11million for Option 4B is ‘unlikely’. To provide ‘further confidence’ in the level of availability, EDDC has formed a sub-group to look specifically at funding over the next six months – while the BMP progresses.

Unless partnership funding can be secured, an Environment Agency (EA) grant of between £5million and £6.75million towards the chosen BMP scheme will not be made available.

Sidmouth Town Council chairman Jeff Turner said: “We’re getting the message that the scheme everybody favours and seems would be most effective is extremely expensive. Funding Option 4B would need such a huge council tax increase across East Devon there would need to be a referendum. The chances of the rest of East Devon supporting that are pretty remote.

“We still back 4B – we haven’t given up on it yet.”

Steering group chairman Cllr Andrew Moulding said: “It is vital that we maintain momentum with this crucial project.

“We are delighted that the local community has committed to working with EDDC and the EA to look at funding, which is crucial to ensure the ongoing protection of Sidmouth.”

He said the BMP is due to be completed this autumn and EDDC is having ongoing discussions with various statutory bodies to ensure the chosen scheme ultimately gains the relevant permissions.”

Well, they could always cancel their plans for their plush offices which will coincidentally cost about £11 million!

And perhaps a joined-up plan for the whole coastline might be a good idea in case there are unintended consequences to other coastal communities?

Sidmouth Beach Management Plan – crucial meeting this Wednesday (17 August)

“As Sidmouth’s long-drawn-out Beach Management Plan (BMP) reaches a critical stage, all eyes will be on the Steering Group Meeting this week, with EDDC Deputy Leader, Andrew Moulding, in the Chair.

Vision Group for Sidmouth (VgS), one of the founder groups of Save Our Sidmouth, will be represented by Robert Crick, who has followed every stage of the long and fraught evolution of the BMP, and has a sound knowledge of researched solutions. He was a close colleague of Jo Frith, who died earlier this year. Jo had been the VgS representative on the BMP Steering Group for many years, strongly arguing a ‘best solution’ case, with solid suggestions for funding.

For the issues and controversies, see:

Public being misled by Sidmouth beach management plan say two councillors

“‘Public being misled over Sidmouth’s beach management plan’ – claim

Sidmouth representatives claim they have had to fight for information on a project to shore up the seafront.

Councillors Matt Booth and Cathy Gardner say they have tried to co-operate with East Devon District Council (EDDC) on the town’s beach management plan (BMP) – but are speaking out because they feel the public is being ‘misled’.

Their allegations have been slammed as ‘unfair and unfounded’ by Cllr Andrew Moulding, the BMP steering group chairman, who accused his colleagues of ‘scaremongering’.

In a joint statement, Cllrs Booth and Gardner said: “While we try at all times to work with EDDC, we have a duty to the electorate to raise issues where we believe we see them. It is very difficult to do so if we are not consulted on issues in our ward. We were voted in with a large mandate last May, to a large extent because of the lack of transparency of EDDC and the key issues that were due. The representation of the situation around the process of the BMP to date needs to be questioned and we consider it to be misleading.”

The steering group is a ‘critical friend’ in the BMP process. It is made up of statutory bodies, such as the Environment Agency, and community groups like the Sid Vale Association. Cllrs Booth and Gardner are not members.

The two councillors said EDDC approved the shortlist of options for seafront protection options independently, but presented them as if they had the support of the steering group. Cllrs Booth and Gardner said EDDC only added one particular option – 4B – once the consultation was under way, following pressure from the steering group’s Sidmouth members. The ward members said this option – to install submerged reefs they argue would improve seafront amenities – was not given ‘equal opportunity’ and that the images released to the public were misleading.

Cllrs Booth and Gardner added: “It is of great concern that this is being set up as a cost-saving exercise and only one option will be tank tested. There is a real danger that it will not produce a result that will be approved by the Environment Agency or Defra and will not attract the partner funding that will be essential to deliver it.”

The BMP could cost £20million to implement and up to £15million will be needed in partnership funding. The cheapest option is £11million.

EDDC is yet to decide which option will be tank tested.

Ed Harrison, who chairs a Sidmouth sub-group of the BMP steering group, told the Herald: “What we’re worried about is that EDDC has already made up its mind. They’ve already said they cannot afford anything but the cheapest option.”

He said the majority of sub-group members hope options 4 and 4B can both be tank tested to assess their effectiveness.

Cllr Moulding said: “Healthy challenge is welcome, but we do need to respect the advice being provided by experts who have repeatedly addressed the issues raised. However, we cannot and will not request that expert advice is altered because some stakeholders are not getting the answers they wish to hear. Our officers’ and consultants’ time is being taken up, further delaying delivery of a scheme for Sidmouth, while adding to costs with no added benefit. I would question how this best serves the public interest.”

He said it would be ‘prohibitively expensive’ to tank test several options and it ‘could add millions of pounds’ to the overall scheme costs. Cllr Moulding argued that the BMP process had been conducted in a ‘completely open and clear-cut manner’ and that ward members had received email correspondence throughout.

Cllrs Booth and Gardner have invited residents to discuss the issue via or”

Exmouth “Splash” could come sooner rather than later after sea wall investigations

“Officials are concerned that the sea wall in Exmouth could collapse in a heavy storm.

East Devon District Council has completed the excavation of eight deep pits in the town as part of its beach management plan.

…Councillor Iain Chubb, East Devon District Council’s Portfolio holder for the Environment, said: “The findings that we make as a result of the excavations will be critical in determining the steps that we must take to manage the risk of coastal flooding and erosion to property and other assets along the Exmouth frontage.”

“The trial pits that we have dug in Exmouth, which is the gateway to the UNESCO designated Devon heritage coast, are part of a five-year action plan, which is intended to guide the future management of this important Jurassic Coast town.

Exmouth’s 2015 Beach Management Plan (BMP), which was produced by coastal flood and erosion risk management consultants CH2M, established the need for the trial pits.

The seaside town was flooded during storms in 2014.”

Still, Moirai Capital Investments will no doubt be able to insure potential investors and buyers against any risks.

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

This particularly affects Exmouth where, at the Imperial Rec ground, plastic bags and other landfill rubbish leaches into the Estuary. And where toxic chemicals could wash down to the pish new seafront development.

Wasn’t there money set aside for remediation? Anyone in Exmouth have an up-to-date assessment of the situation?

Over 1,000 old landfill sites on the coasts of England and Wales are at increasing risk of being breached by erosion, according to a new study, posing a serious pollution danger to wildlife and bathing waters.

Landfill sites before the mid-1990s had few or no restrictions about what rubbish could be dumped in them and little is known about what they contain. But many were on the coast and some were used to raise land levels and even as part of flood defences. Climate change is bringing higher sea levels and stronger storms, putting the old dumps at greater risk of being broken up.

The new study, the first of its kind and funded by the Environment Agency, assessed two landfill sites in Essex to find out the level of toxic pollutants in the waste they contained. It found large quantities of harmful metals, such as lead, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are carcinogenic.

“Our findings show, that in the event of erosion, there would be serious environmental consequences due to the level of contaminants,” said Kate Spencer, an environmental geochemist at Queen Mary University of London, who led the research. “You would be likely to see significant effects on local animals and plants, from mortality to reductions in fertility. There would also be consequences for bathing waters.”

There are 1,264 historic landfill sites in the coastal zone where the risk of flooding has been previously estimated at 1-in-200 years. Of these, 537 are in or near bathing water catchment areas and 406 are in or near sites of special scientific interest.

With the predicted increase in sea level, extreme weather events and coastal erosion due to climate change, a national survey of the old landfill sites is urgently needed, said Spencer: “Nationally we need a much better inventory of sites that have eroded or are at risk of eroding – that is the priority.”

The scientists dug pits to investigate the contents of two sites in Essex: Leigh Marshes landfill, used from 1955-1967, and Hadleigh Marsh Landfill, used from 1980-1987. In the latter, which is used as a flood embankment, the researchers estimated there is 9,250kg of lead, 985kg of PAHs and 125kg of cadmium, among the 77,000 tonnes of waste.

The analysis found that all of the Leigh Marsh waste samples and 63% of the Hadleigh Marsh samples contained contaminants at concentrations that are above marine sediment quality guidelines, meaning that damaging effects to wildlife could be expected if the waste were to erode into surrounding wetlands.

Spencer warned that conclusions about other sites are hard to draw from these examples: “Many landfills were in use when there were no rules about what went in [so] every landfill is essentially unique and some will prove more risky than others.”

Flooding by the sea would expose the dumps to salt water, which the research found was much more effective at leaching pollutants from the rubbish than freshwater. But the team expect this would be less damaging than the landfills being broken up by erosion as the pollutants would be filtered by sediments.

The assessment of the risk posed by old coastal landfills is made more urgent by the fact that some parts of the coast, including Hadleigh Marsh, are being considered for “managed retreat”. This is where maintaining defences is not seen as cost-effective and the sea is allowed to flood an area, as happened at Medmerry in West Sussex in 2014.

The study suggests relocating the waste would be ideal but the costs of this would be so enormous that managed retreat is unlikely where historic landfills are present.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “The risk of these landfills being affected by coastal erosion and rising sea levels remains low for the foreseeable future. This research will ensure ourselves, and local authorities, continue to have robust shoreline plans in place to help tackle any potential risks from erosion in future years.”

Essex County Council is responsible for the management and monitoring of the two sites analysed in the new study. Councillor Mick Page said: “The council and partners have developed the Essex and Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan and, subject to adequate finances being secured, it is the intention to establish survey stations and undertake regular monitoring in the future to inform future management decisions.”

Some old landfills have already been breached by erosion, such as one at East Tilbury, which attracted amateur collectors. “They were rummaging through this 75-year-old waste,” said Spencer. “I exercise caution. I wouldn’t pick the waste up or handle it.”

“Protecting beaches could save cliffs and homes, scientists say”

“A decade-long study of Westcountry coasts has revealed that protecting beaches could also help to stop the cliff erosion that is threatening homes, roads and coast paths around the region.

A dedicated team of scientists from the Plymouth Coastal Observatory has been painstakingly monitoring the tempestuous storms, devastating floods, 50ft-high waves and cliff falls along the coast.

The observatory is responsible for reporting on the effects of time and tide on 1,600 miles of coast from Beachley in Gloucestershire to Portland Bill in Dorset, via Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, including the Isles of Scilly.

Now the public is being given a chance to see for themselves how the processes which form our ever-changing coastline work, and how scientists study and measure the changes.

A free event is being held at Plymouth University – where the Plymouth Coastal Observatory is based – to showcase the work of the regional monitoring programme and its partners.

The link between beach and cliff erosion was established during nearly a decade of monitoring changes to cliffs at Sidmouth in East Devon. The Plymouth Coastal Observatory first commissioned aerial photography of the area in 2007.

The scientists are also regularly seen on the beaches of the region, physically charting the changes taking place due to erosion and deposition, natural coastal processes caused by the weather and tides.

At Pennington Point they found that the levels of the beach have fallen – in some places by more than a metre – since 2007.

Coastal process scientist Emerald Siggery from the Plymouth Coastal Observatory said: “There have been a number of cliff falls at Pennington Point in recent years.

“Our data, which includes aerial photography, topographic surveys and LiDAR, has given us accurate measurements of the changes.

“All our rich data also shows that erosion of the beach is contributing to the erosion of the cliffs, so if action is taken to manage the beach erosion that should contribute to managing erosion of the cliffs as well.”

The observatory’s scientists gather beach measurements accurate to around an inch, and commission and interpret high-resolution aerial photography and LiDAR (laser) imagery, as well as surveys which map the entire range of coastal habitats of the South West.

They also provide real-time information on the region’s waves and tides.

Coast South West 2016 will be open to the public from 10am to 3pm on Wednesday, April 20, in the Rolle Marquee on the main Plymouth University campus at Drake Circus. …

A bumper Overview Committee agenda: flooding, coastal management, boundary review and engagement with business

Agenda items include:

Devon Local Flood Risk Management Strategy – Delivery Update to East Devon District Council Overview Committee – March 2016

Coastal Protection

Boundary Committee Review (which includes an interesting survey, completed by EDDC councillors on what they do, how long they spend doing it and how satisfied they are with what they are doing). With one (anonymous, of course) councillor commenting:

The public get good value from EDDC compared to the BBC licence fee! ”

(Anyone else fancy opting out of council tax at this rather stupid remark?)

and another saying

The public prefer to lobby councillors than talk to officers”

(er, no, councillors, most of the time officers refuse to talk to us and YOU therefore are our only conduit to officers).

and an agenda item on “business engagement” which always brings Owl out in spots recalling the last business engagement scenario – the East Devon Business Forum!

Some interesting remarks in the report”

In helping to meet the identified need for business growth in East Devon, an even more pressing requirement emerged. It became apparent that the number of Devon businesses registered on the Hinkley Point C Supply Chain portal – a requirement of contracting to Europe’s biggest engineering project – were critically low compared to Somerset. ”

Er, not really surprising when you factor in geographical location and transport costs!


East Devon is a low wage and low productivity area with a high proportion of residents retired or in seasonal and part-time work. The West End of the district is experiencing new jobs growth as the Growth Point sites gradually start to build out, but elsewhere in the district the job situation is less certain. Business Parks such as Greendale and Hill Barton are nearing capacity and house prices make change of use from employment to residential an incentive for landowners and developers. This does not make for sustainable or balanced economic growth for much of the district.”

Click to access 220316-overview-agenda-combined.pdf