Coastal Protection Inspections to get Underway

Posted by: Kaye Russell on 19 March 2024 16:39

Coastal management inspections are set to get underway in South Tyneside over the coming months as part of work monitoring the ongoing threat of coastal erosion.

South Tyneside Council will be working with its partners at the National Trust to look at any land changes and erosion along the coastline, following the winter months and periods of extreme weather.

Sandhaven, South Shields
Sandhaven, South Shields
Councillor Ernest Gibson at Littlehaven, South Shields
Marsden, South Shields

Site investigations will focus on the degree of coastal erosion as well as cliff instability, land slippage and sinkholes.

Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change, said: "We have a stunning coastline which attracts thousands of visitors every year. It is one of our best assets.

"However, as with all coastal areas, it is extremely vulnerable to erosion, and with climate change exacerbating the already significant exposure of our coast to flooding and erosion, we need to make sure it is resilient to environmental change.

"We have coastal risk management and protection plans in place to deal with the dynamic nature of this environment and to help protect our coastal communities.

"These plans include a rolling programme of coastal inspections so that we can assess any damage and determine any areas of instability, particularly following periods of extreme weather and storms, of which there have been a few recently.

"We know there has been some coastal erosion, so we will also be carrying out cliff top surveys and taking some samples using rig equipment."

Inspections also examine the integrity of the Borough's coastal defences and existing protection schemes to ensure the ongoing safety of the public.

Cliff edges are already protected by low level barrier fencing in some places, with signs in place warning the public not to cross.

Councillor Gibson added: "These assessment works also help us to ensure our protection and mitigation measures are robust and that our coastal area remains safe for our residents and visitors. They also allow us to determine whether any remedial action is needed to be put in place in any areas.

"Of course, the threat of erosion is constant. It's the power of nature. The cliff face can be very unstable and sinkholes can appear quickly.

"We have barriers in place to safeguard visitors from dangerous cliff tops and vulnerable areas.

"However, we would always urge people to stick to coastal paths, stay well clear of cliff edges and any sinkholes that they come across and keep dogs on leads in these areas. It is crucial that people remain on the safe side of the barriers and adhere to any warning signs in place."

The Council is now working with landowners, the National Trust, on sampling as well as monitoring erosion and climate mitigation and resilience measures.

Eric Wilton, General Manager, National Trust - Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, said: "Due to climate change, we're seeing the severity and frequency of storms increase. This is putting more pressure on the coast in terms of coastal erosion.

"We welcome and support the efforts of South Tyneside Council in continuing to monitor our coastline and we'll work together if any action is required."

In January 2022, South Tyneside Council became the first local authority in the north of England to declare an urgent need for ocean recovery and committed to take positive action to protect and enhance this environment.  Coastal management and protection forms part of this work. The Council also continues to lead the region's Stronger Shores project which involves restoring marine habitats such as kelp and seagrass, and looking at how they can help to protect coastal communities from the impacts of climate change.

Further information about Coastal management and protection is available at Flooding and coastal risk management - South Tyneside Council

Last modified: 19 March 2024 16:50