The Jurassic Coast Trust is creating a new Partnership Plan – and is asking for the public for input:
This is where the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site begins from Sidmouth, going east:
Meanwhile, here are some initial responses from correspondents to the Jurassic Coast Trust’s draft Partnership Plan:
Sustainable Settlements and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site
Will the draft WHS Partnership Plan adversely affect the sustainability of the existing settlements that are bounded by the World Heritage Site?
Does it strike a balance between the need for coastal communities to be sustainable in the face of sea level rise and coastal erosion, and the need to protect the WHS by requiring coastal erosion to continue unchecked?
Does it promote the need for dialogue with coastal communities that are at risk from sea level rise and coastal erosion and the need for compromise?
Have you say on how the sustainability of your settlement is cared for by the draft WHS Partnership Plan…
- We know how the World Heritage Site designation puts constraints on coastal defence measures that are needed to protect Sidmouth. This is because the town boundary was chosen to be the boundary of the WHS (and no one in the town objected) and the proposed coast defence measures at East Beach are now within the WHS boundary.
- Aim 2 of the draft Partnership Plan is: Conserve and enhance the Site, Its presentation, setting and its attributes. In practice, conserving and enhancing the setting of the WHS extends the influence of the WHS designation and it’s future management to land that is well beyond the boundary of the WHS. Should the WH Trust have influence on the use of land that is well outside the WHS Site? How is this Aim balanced against the ‘normal’ use of such land?
- In addition to constraining development WITHIN the WHS boundary, S2.2.3 of the draft Partnership Plan refers to the need for buffer zones around the OUTSIDE of the WHS where development should also be constrained, if it is likely to harm the WHS.
Points 1, 2 and 3 mean that measures that are needed for the sustainability of coastal settlement are trumped by the need to protect the WHS.
Why has this been allowed to happen? It has happened because years ago no one asked the question…. How will the WHS designation affect the sustainability of existing settlements that are bounded by the WHS?
Now is the time to ask the question…
Will the draft Partnership Plan adversely affect the sustainability of the existing settlements, in the face of climate change and sea level rise, that are bounded by the WHS?
IF the answer is ‘yes’, THEN the Partnership Plan should be changed to make sure that does not happen.
Changes to the Partnership Plan the Partnership Plan along the following lines should be considered:
- The Partnership Plan should state …. “Nothing in this Partnership Plan shall be used to hinder or prevent the delivery of measures that are needed for the sustainability of settlements in the face of climate change and sea level rise that are bounded by the WHS” … or…
- Where there are settlements that are bounded by the WHS, the Partnership Plan should be amended… to include a buffer zone WITHIN the boundary of the WHS that is adjacent to the settlement, where measures that are needed for the sustainability of the settlement will be permitted … or …
- Where there are settlements that are bounded by the WHS the Partnership Plan should include the repositioning of the WHS boundary away from the settlement, so measures that are needed for the sustainability of the settlement are not hindered or prevented by the need to protect the WHS.
Remember in addition to Sidmouth, this applies to other settlements that are bounded by the WHS such as Weymouth and Swanage so it may be worth joining forces to protect the sustainability of all such settlements.
This is about getting the balance right between the sustainability of existing settlements in the face of sea level rise and the need to protect the WHS. At the moment the balance in the draft Partnership Plan is in favour of the WHS. This is not good for the sustainability of coastal settlements in the face of climate change and sea level rise.
The Importance of Erosion [page 8 of the draft Partnership Plan]
“The coast is where land, sea and sky meet. It is a dynamic landscape where drama is found both in its nature and in how we as human beings interact with it. Conservation of the Jurassic Coast starts with the rock exposures, fossils and natural landforms that form the basis of its World Heritage Status. One thing underpins all of these – erosion. Erosion is the natural process of the land being worn away, from the action of a single wave to the spectacular impact of an enormous landslide or raging winter storm. The coastline only exists because of erosion and over time it has exposed world-class geology and palaeontology and created the iconic landforms that so many people know and love, such as Chesil beach, Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Ladram Bay. Whilst ‘Protection’ along any coastline is often understood to mean reducing or preventing erosion, that is not the case here. Ongoing natural erosion is fundamental to the Outstanding Universal Value of the Jurassic Coast. In order to protect World Heritage status, it must be allowed to continue.’’
This is very poorly written, factually incorrect, unscientific and biased.
‘Erosion is the natural process of the land being worn away.’! The excessive erosion at Sidmouth’s East Beach is the product of human intervention. It is not a natural process.
This statement offers no comfort to those communities where people, property or infrastructure is at risk from erosion.
The draft Partnership Plan has no vision and does not inspire but most importantly, it really does not say a lot about what ‘they’ actually intend to do under many of the ‘priority actions/aspirations, especially further down the list.
The concern is with the fossils. They have now added in the verbiage the clear need for a fossil centre when it is almost certainly too late (having blown the opportunity on Seaton Jurassic), and then left it out of all or any priority actions!