Council bosses meet with key BMP players to discuss Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 14:49 29 September 2016 | UPDATED: 14:49 29 September 2016

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Council bosses met with key players apart of the Beach Management Plan (BMP) to discuss coastal flood and erosion options for Sidmouth.

The BMP team held a meeting with representatives from Natural England, the Jurassic Coast Team, Environment Agency (EA) and East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to discuss the preferred option for a long-term plan.

Discussions highlighted how although offshore breakwaters, included in Option S4, were preferred technically and potentially had less of a environmental impact, Option S1 which would include one or two groynes off the beach had more of a realistic chance of obtaining the required partnership contributions, important for unlocking much-needed government funding. This, therefore, made Option S1 more likely to be implemented in the necessary timescales.

All the representatives agreed it was important something was done to reduce the rate of the erosion of the cliff and beach in Sidmouth.

It was noted all the shortlisted options were likely to have a significant affect on the environmental and landscape at East Beach.

All those who attended agreed both Option S1 and S4, subject to the council providing more details on the environmental affects, would be viable.

Option S4 would primarily affect the setting of the land and seascape as well as altering the views from the AONB and affecting below water habitats.

Alternatively, Option S1, in addition to these impacts, may in part directly impact the designated geology itself.

The representatives were all satisfied the council would seek to minimise as far as practicable the impacts of any beach management scheme during the outline and detailed design phase of the project. For example by offsetting groynes from the cliff face, or limiting the height or extent of any structure although no guarantee can be given, at these early stages, that a technically viable beach management scheme would be environmentally acceptable.

During the outline and detail design there will be particular emphasis on land and seascape with visual impact assessments, geomorphological, coastal processes and ecological assessments.

Councillor Andrew Moulding BMP Steering Group’s chairman, said: “We are extremely grateful for Natural England, the Jurassic Coast Team, Environment Agency and East Devon AONB’s support throughout the development of the beach management plan and welcome their continued support for measures to maintain a healthier beach on East Beach.

“East Devon looks forward to continuing to work constructively with environmental bodies, the local community and the EA to implement a beach management scheme across Sidmouth and East Beach.”

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