Beach Management Plan: an analysis of the Plymouth report

“It is impossible to ignore the impact of the Plymouth study, so a rethink by EDDC is inevitable. We will lobby hard for a revetment to be reconsidered, not least because of the negative impact that a groyne will bring to the residents of Laskeys Lane and Alma Lane.”

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2001 copyright Google

The VGS website has a page devoted to charting the way in which the cliffs have receded over the decades – with photographs from the 1860s to today:

These images show erosion of the cliffs to the east and how beach levels have varied over time.

Erosion at Sidmouth in pictures – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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Two weeks ago, there were further dramatic cliff falls at the Eastern Beach:

Massive cliff fall at Sidmouth, Devon. | Sidmouth Herald

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Last week, the District Council looked at a new study of coastal erosion from the University of Plymouth:

Beach Management Plan: new report on rates of erosion – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Here’s that document:

6a CCMA briefing paper V4.pdf

The main finding was that we are to expect greater rates of erosion – also at Sidmouth’s Pennington Point and Eastern Beach:

Beach Management Plan: tenfold increase in erosion predicted – Vision Group for Sidmouth

This has put into question the validity of the current Beach Management Plan’s ‘preferred option’:

Beach Management Plan: alternative views and new studies – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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To summarise:

  • The Plymouth study is predicting erosion at least ten times faster than the original Shoreline Management Plan (SMP2) predictions from a decade ago.
  • The study is presenting a ‘worst case’ scenario – in which case, erosion at East Beach probably lies somewhere between the original SMP2 report and the Plymouth study.
  • And yet, the Plymouth study’s ‘best guess’ will probably be very similar to the predictions broadly made by locals over the years.
  • Finally, the Plymouth study was informed by information from the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan (BMP).
  • At this stage, however, it is still difficult to determine which of these plans/studies is more reliable.

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Meanwhile, the president of the Chamber of Commerce has been giving his understanding of the Plymouth report and how it impacts on the Sidmouth BMP.

Beth Sharp of the Nub News reports today:

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Sidmouth beach protections ‘not fit for purpose’, says chamber president

Plans to protect the town’s seafront ‘do not look fit for purpose’ following a report showing Sidmouth’s clifftop homes could be swallowed by the sea within 20 years. Those are the words of Richard Eley, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce’s president…

Mr Eley has however claimed there were ‘major problems with the preferred option’. He added: “The chamber has long argued that the groyne is only likely to be partially successful.” Mr Eley said the recharge/recycle provision was not funded by the scheme, and was going to be very costly…

He added: “EDDC has previously assumed that houses east of the groyne are so far back from the cliffs that they are not under threat. The Plymouth study utterly destroys that thinking. The groyne, even if it works as well or better than expected, is not going to do anything to help anyone living to the east, in Laskeys Lane or Alma Lane.

“Even worse, the groyne is very likely to produce an effect known as ‘terminal erosion’… In this case, it means that the groyne will accelerate erosion to the east thus increasing the threat to Laskeys Lane and Alma Lane residents. So the current Preferred Option, developed before the Plymouth study, does not look ‘fit for purpose’, and surely needs to be reviewed in the light of the report.“ …

He added a rock revetment was cheaper than a groyne, more effective and reliable at reducing erosion, it did not require much (if any) recharge or recycle. My Eley said it was also safer and did not cause terminal erosion.  

He added: “It is impossible to ignore the impact of the Plymouth study, so a rethink by EDDC is inevitable. We will lobby hard for a revetment to be reconsidered, not least because of the negative impact that a groyne will bring to the residents of Laskeys Lane and Alma Lane.”

Sidmouth beach protections ‘not fit for purpose’, says chamber president | sidmouth.nub.news

   
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