Update given on development of Sidmouth Beach Management Scheme

This photograph of Pennington Point and East Cliff was taken for the BMP by a drone at lower altitud

This photograph of Pennington Point and East Cliff was taken for the BMP by a drone at lower altitude. If you look carefully you can see circular waves with their centre at the end of the river training wall. This is wave diffraction and it can cause erosion. - Credit: Archant

The team tasked with developing the outline Sidmouth Beach Management Scheme has given an update on their latest work.

The steering group for Sidmouth’s Beach Management Scheme received a progress report from East Devon District Council’s project team and its consultants Royal Haskoning DHV last week.

Updates were given on the work undertaken during the past two months for the scheme, which aims to reduce the risk of flooding to the town both by improving the beach and defences on the main seafront and by reducing the rate of erosion along East Beach.

Royal HaskoningDHV showed how they had been using computer models developed as part of the first phase of the project to test different beach profiles to see what height and width of beach was most effective in reducing waves overtopping The Esplanade.

The more detailed computer modelling is also now underway and is indicating that a modest increase in height of the existing splashwall along the seafront may be helpful in reducing flood risk to the town.

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The council’s consultants have also been testing different numbers, lengths and positions of groynes on East Beach, using computer models that simulate shingle movement, as well as by using real life examples of shingle behaving in similar situations nearby.

The aim is to use groynes to hold a beach in front of the cliffs, which would be of a similar height to the beach behind the breakwaters at the Western end of Sidmouth Beach.

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The group also discussed some of the images, diagrams and subject areas, which should be presented at a public exhibition on April 19 at Kennaway House, Sidmouth.

The steering group members were particularly keen that the flood extents are presented, to help local people understand that the aim of the project is primarily to reduce the risk of flooding to Sidmouth. Royal HaskoningDHV have now been invited the steering group to be present at the public exhibition, to explain the project aims and their role in getting the project to this point.

EDDC also gave updates on partnership funding, which has included positive discussions continuing with South West Water, Devon County Council and a number of other potential sources of funding.

Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon’s portfolio holder for the Environment who is now chair of the steering group meeting, said:

”Excellent progress is being made to deliver a scheme to reduce the risk of flooding to Sidmouth, and I was really pleased to see the support for the work from both the local community and statutory bodies on the project steering group.”

Alexander Lee, Royal HaskoningDHV Project Manager, said:

“Modelling work is progressing well and it has been useful to discuss our findings with the Steering Group as we go along. We are now looking forward to having the opportunity to share our work with the stakeholder community in the forthcoming public exhibition.”

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