A short list of coastal and flood defense options to deliver the aims of the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan (BMP) project is to be developed, following a meeting of the BMP Steering Group with East Devon District Council’s BMP project team on 15 January 2016.
The BMP’s aims are to maintain the standard of flood protection provided by the existing sea defenses and to reduce the rate of erosion at East Cliff.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a report by the council’s consultants C2HM on their appraisal of a long list of options (the report was sent to the Sidmouth BMP Steering Group in December 2015) and to consider which options should be taken forward to the short list for a more detailed assessment by CH2M in respect of costs and technical issues, as well as amenity, regeneration and environmental matters.
“It is important that we considered all the available and relevant options to ensure the future health and longevity of Sidmouth and East beaches. This is a difficult environmental balancing act, with many implications for each of the options that we are currently appraising,” said the Chairman of the BMP Steering Group, Councillor Andrew Moulding.
“Maintenance and repair action, as well as the construction of new protective structures are all being assessed with care as it is critical that none of the options should compromise or impact on the integrity of environmental features. Once the short list options have been agreed, we can look forward to identifying and implementing the most appropriate management scheme aimed at addressing flood risk and coastal erosion affecting Sidmouth and East Beach.”
The project’s Steering Group, which comprises a cross-section of East Devon District Council’s partners, including Devon County Council, Natural England, South West Water and the Environment Agency, as well as local interest groups and councillors, provided highly valuable feedback on the options in the report.
The Steering Group also took the opportunity to discuss how the BMP may complement the regeneration study for the Port Royal area, which is currently being undertaken by Sidmouth Town Council.
The Group also discussed whether it may be beneficial to access funding through Coastal Community teams in the future and whether there are short term actions acceptable to the relevant statutory bodies to reduce erosion at Pennington Point.