Cliff erosion pictured from the skies

PUBLISHED: 12:29 23 March 2015 | UPDATED: 12:34 23 March 2015

An image taken by the fixed wing drone on Thursday.

An image taken by the fixed wing drone on Thursday.

EDDC

A project to create a beach management plan for Sidmouth has taken to the skies as new aerial photographs could be the final 'piece of the puzzle'.

An image taken by the fixed wing drone on Thursday. 

An image taken by the fixed wing drone on Thursday.

A fixed-wing drone flew over the town on Thursday to capture up-to-date images of erosion from the beach and shoreline below Cliff Road, so that consultants can analyse erosion rates for their baseline coastal process reports.

These stunning images are the result of the project.

East Devon District Council commissioned the survey after the last meeting of the steering group for the Sidmouth beach management plan.

The plan will look at maintaining and improving the town’s costal defences in the long-term.

An image taken by the fixed wing drone on Thursday. 

An image taken by the fixed wing drone on Thursday.

Tony Burch, assistant project manager, said: “We are gathering more up-to-date information about the cliffs. This extra piece of information is the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle.”

After appeals to residents for pictures of the beach and cliffs, the addition of the new photographs will determine the amount of wearing down that has happened over the past 20 years since the installation of the rock groynes. The project has faced criticism from residents over the time it has taken, but Mr Burch assured them their views are being heard.

“This project recognises there has been a lot of frustration from local people and a lot of consternation about the rate of erosion over 20 years,” he said.

Mr Burch added that the project needs to ‘quantify residents’ concerns with good science’ by analysing the erosion rate throughout the decades - allowing them to measure whether the installation of rock groynes 20 years ago has done its job. The project will also be able to record the impact of the recent shingle replenishment.

The lightweight droneon Sidmouth beach this week. Ref shs 0820-12-15SH. Picture: Simon HornThe lightweight droneon Sidmouth beach this week. Ref shs 0820-12-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Mr Burch added that residents’ assistance was vital to creating the plan, adding: “It is really important that the public is involved. It is no good doing a project and then talking to people. It is their town at the end of the day we just there to help. They know their cost, they have watched it changing over the years.

“They fish along the coast, the fisherman and the sailors now how the beach is changing.”

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