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Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Sheppey Coastal Protection Group appeals to Environment Agency for new groynes to stop beaches from disappearing

20 February 2014
by Lewis Dyson

That is the message from Sheppey Coastal Protection Group which has raised concerns over the amount of shingle being lost from the seafronts.

Figures from Canterbury City Council, which monitors some areas of Kent coastline on behalf of the Environment Agency (EA), show that a quarter of the beach opposite Richmond Street has been lost in the past nine years.

Members of the Sheppey Coastal Protection Group next to the groynes.

Members of the Sheppey Coastal Protection Group next to the groynes.

In Warden Bay, as much as 27% has gone in some areas and in Leysdown there has been a 10% reduction over the same period.

Peter MacDonald, of Sheppey Coastal Protection Group, said the groynes along Sheerness are in need of repair and are not preventing long-shore drift.

He called on the EA, which is responsible for them to install new ones and to enrich depleted areas with shingle.

The Minster Parish councillor pointed to the groynes in Minster seafront, which are maintained by Swale council, as an example of how well they can work, as the figures from Canterbury council show the beach there has actually grown by 1%.

Mr MacDonald said: “It can be solved without spending vast sums of money on land grading or things like that.”

Tim Bell, group member and also honorary life rear commodore of the Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club, said: “Unfortunately the Environment Agency’s policy at the moment seems to be let the sea take its course.”

He added: “It’s making it very hard for the sailing club because at high tide it’s very difficult to land because there’s simply no beach to land on.”

The group fears if nothing is done the foundations of sea defences in Sheerness could be undermined by the sea, as beaches naturally break up the power of waves.

Tim Bell of the Sheppey Coastal Protection Group showing damage to the sea wall. The shingle used to come up to the third step from the top and now sea damage is occurring.

Tim Bell of the Sheppey Coastal Protection Group showing damage to the sea wall. The shingle used to come up to the third step from the top and now sea damage is occurring.

Mr Bell said repairs have had to be carried out to the sea wall behind Tesco, in Bridge Road, recently after signs of damage started to appear.

He warned the loss of beaches could have other knock-on effects, such as a negative impact on tourism.

The Environment Agency said it has no plans to install new groynes.

A spokesman said: “The concrete sea wall between Barton’s Point and Queenborough provides a one-in-200-year standard of protection to the town of Sheerness.

“There are existing groynes in place along sections of the beach which we no longer maintain. Installing new groyne structures would be very expensive, would not improve the standard of protection, and would still require shingle replenishment.

“It is more cost effective to replenish the beach when required and our existing beach management plan helps us to monitor the shingle levels on the beach so that we can replenish them when needed.”

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