SOUTH Tyneside’s ever-changing coastline is coming under scrutiny as never before.
Borough residents can now log on to the Environment Agency’s website to receive updates on coastal erosion.
Six local authorities, including South Tyneside, have worked closely with the agency to produce coastal erosion information similar to the flood maps which are already available online.
It brings together data from many different sources, based on the best scientific information available, and in an accessible and simple format.
The data will help the public and local authorities with planning and funding decisions for flood and coastal defence schemes.
Clare Steward, of the Environment Agency’s asset system management team. said: “The North East is not a region where there is an imminent risk to properties from coastal erosion. However it is still important that local authorities factor it into their plans for the future.
“Change along our coastline is a natural and ongoing process. Where the sea meets the cliffs and shores, it causes the sediment or rocks to be broken down and washed away. Erosion can happen under any conditions, but its rate tends to increase when waves are powerful and water levels are high – for instance during storms or high winds.”
Over the last two years there have been major examples of coastal erosion with large sections of cliff collapsing at Frenchman’s Bay and Marsden.
Meanwhile, the council currently has plans for a £5m coastal defence wall to protect South Shields’s seafront.
The existing 100-year-old Littlehaven wall is nearing the end of its lifespan as an effective defence against flooding.
Now the council wants to create a stepped sea wall leading down to the beach from a concrete promenade.
The scheme will be funded with £4m from the local authority budget – the Environment Agency (EA) is expected to meet the shortfall.
Meanwhile, work started earlier this year on £171,934 scheme to plant more than a quarter of a million clumps of marram and lyme grass on South Shields beach.
The grass will grow up to five feet high, and its roots will bind the sand and hold the dunes in place.
The project is also being undertaken with cash from the EA.
To view the latest coastal erosion maps for South Tyneside visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/coast
Story in the Shields Gazette