March 26, 2009

Press & Journal: “Internet campaign aims to raise awareness of coastal erosion”

An internet campaign to raise awareness of erosion problems at an Angus beach was launched yesterday.

Campaign group SOS (Save Our Sands) Montrose is calling for those concerned about the erosion of the town’s beach to put pressure on local politicians to demand urgent action.

The group believes sand dredged from the local harbour and its navigation channel has had a devastating effect on the beach.

It claims more than 1million tonnes of sand, swept by the tide into the harbour, has been removed from the local area over the past 25 years.

It has mainly been dumped out at sea, but in 2006 150,000 tonnes was shipped to Aberdeen beach as part of a £3.5million scheme to top up the city’s own dwindling sands.

A new film, posted yesterday on YouTube, has also been produced showing the effects of the erosion to date.

SOS Montrose spokesman Anthony Baxter, who made the film, said the only way to halt the process is to return the lost sand.

“Sand stripped from the local ecosystem has been dumped miles away, shipped up to save Aberdeen’s beach or simply dumped a few miles off Lunan Bay,” he said.

“It’s perhaps little wonder then that scientists blame this fact for the decimation of our own beach, and say the golf course and ultimately the town is at risk.”

Montrose Links Trust, which runs the golf course, installed its own rock armour three years ago to protect weak points on its coastal boundary and moved two tees inland.

The group’s view has been backed by Andrew Cooper, professor of coastal studies at Ulster University. “It would seem to me very unlikely it would have no impact,” he said. “That’s a very big volume of sand. In a situation like Montrose where we have this closed system, keeping the sand in the system is the best possible way to prevent long-term effects from taking place.”

The Scottish Government has already told Angus Council the beach does not qualify for government funding for heavy engineering work because it is not considered cost-effective.

The council said yesterday that a study of the erosion by Dundee University is due to begin over the next few weeks, following the recent appointment of a research officer. The results will be studied to decide the best way to manage the erosion.

Infrastructure services convener Councillor David May said: “The council and Montrose Port Authority are working to establish the best ways of managing the coastal erosion at Montrose. We hope that the Dundee University study, once completed, will help us in that goal.”

Story by Mark Dowie in the Press & Journal

Filed under: Press Article,scotland — Tags: , , , — jaydublu @ 11:06 am

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