EU-funded scheme will tackle coastal erosion around Southend
By Christy O'Brien in www.echo-news.co.uk
Shoebury sand dunes to be protected as part of new project
A new scheme to protect Shoebury's coastline using environmentally-friendly methods has been given the go ahead. Plans have been approved to stabilise and restore the sand dunes of East Beach, which are effective in stopping coastal erosion, by planting vegetation, reinstating timber fencing at the top of the dunes and installing fencing to protect these new plants while they grow. The application is part of wider work taken as part of the Sustainable and Resilient Coastal Cities project led by Southend City Council and coastal defence programe European Intereg 2 Seas which aims to protect the city's seafront from Leigh Port to East Beach.
This will be done using more natural methods rather than using man-made structures to stop coastal erosion such as concrete or wooden walls. The application's documents reads: "Vegetation cover on dune systems is critical to retain sediment and provide further ecological benefits. Moreover, sand dunes themselves can reduce flooding while also serving as a sediment stock for post-storm recovery. On this basis, the proposed development is considered to be in full accordance with overarching national and local policy objectives. For the reasons outlined above the proposal is found to be acceptable and compliant with the relevant planning policies and guidance."
While it is unknown when this work on East Beach will start other projects part of the coastal cities project have begun. This includes installing of artificial rock pools encouraging biodiversity at Leigh Port and a climate resilient garden on Chalkwell Beach.
Councillor Carole Mulroney, responsible for the environment at Southend Council, said the project would not only offer protection from coastal erosion but create better habitats for wildlife.
She said: "We have had coastal erosion over the last few years and this is a nature-based solution managing and protecting the coastal environment. If we can find environmental solution to these problems its far better than building concrete protection. An environmental-friendly way of looking after our coastline is what everybody wants us to do. She added; "There are different solutions for different areas. They are being monitored and will be assessed as to how effective they are. It's basically a whole series of trials to work out what is the best solution is for any given area."