Breakwaters have caused erosion

SIR - David McCluskey (Opinion, February 15) is correct in stating that coastal erosion is driven by marine action and protection of the base of Sidmouth’s east cliffs is the only way to mitigate the increased erosion of the past 15 years.

He is also right in stating that I blame the breakwaters for the increased rate of erosion.

In this I am supported by the Shoreline Management Plan, written by Halcrow, an eminent firm of engineers, and published by the Environment Agency. The mechanism is very simple.

The breakwaters have stopped all longshore drift of shingle from the west, thus denuding the base of the cliffs, which before 1995 was protected by a shingle bank five metres high and is now bedrock.

This shingle protected the base of the cliffs from undercutting by the sea, which now has unfettered access to cause the mayhem we have recently witnessed.

Paul Griew


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Cliff Road Action Group