6. 21st January 2016 - 'BMP Steering Group discuss Long List options'
A short list of coastal and flood defence options to deliver the aims of the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan (BMP) project is to be developed, following a meeting of the BMP Steering Group with East Devon District Council’s BMP project team on 15 January 2016. The BMP’s aims are to maintain the standard of flood protection provided by the existing sea defences and to reduce the rate of erosion at East Cliff.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a report by the council’s consultants C2HM on their appraisal of a long list of options (the report was sent to the Sidmouth BMP Steering Group in December 2015) and to consider which options should be taken forward to the short list for a more detailed assessment by CH2M in respect of costs and technical issues, as well as amenity, regeneration and environmental matters.
The project’s Steering Group, which comprises a cross-section of East Devon District Council’s partners, including Devon County Council, Natural England, South West Water and the Environment Agency, as well as local interest groups and councillors, provided highly valuable feedback on the options in the report.
The Steering Group was in general agreement about which options should be taken forward to the short list for more detailed appraisal, but before finally deciding, they requested a number of clarifications to inform their final choice. The council will be working closely with CH2M to revise the long list appraisal report for the Steering Group. Once the shortlist has been finalized and appraised by CH2M, the project team is planning a series of further consultations with the steering group and members of the public on the action plan and preferred options to deliver the aims of the BMP.
The Steering Group also took the opportunity to discuss how the BMP may complement the regeneration study for the Port Royal area, which is currently being undertaken by Sidmouth Town Council. The Steering Group also discussed whether it may be beneficial to access funding through Coastal Community teams in the future and whether there are short term actions acceptable to the relevant statutory bodies to reduce erosion at Pennington Point.
It is anticipated that by late summer 2016 the production of the draft BMP, together with supporting documents will have been completed. This will be followed by a four week consultation on the draft BMP and then the finalisation of the Plan. Following which East Devon District Council will prepare a detailed business case to access DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) funding.
Commenting on the progress being made on the BMP, the Chairman of the BMP Steering Group, Councillor Andrew Moulding said:
“It is important that we considerer all the available and relevant options to ensure the future health and longevity of Sidmouth and East beaches. This is a difficult environmental balancing act, with many implications for each of the options that we are currently appraising.
“Maintenance and repair action, as well as the construction of new protective structures are all being assessed with care as it is critical that none of the options should compromise or impact on the integrity of environmental features. Once the short list options have been agreed, we can look forward to identifying and implementing the most appropriate management scheme aimed at addressing flood risk and coastal erosion affecting Sidmouth and East Beach.”
“I would like to thank our Steering Group for their tireless input and assistance in this project and for contributing so much of their time and expertise into helping us formulate a clear coastal management plan for Sidmouth and East Beach.”
The project’s aim is to develop a Beach Management Plan (BMP) that defines how monitoring and maintenance works along the beach frontage are to be carried out for the purpose of Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) over the next five years. At the same time it sets out measures for the longer-term management of the frontage, having appraised the longer term viability of options over a 100 year planning horizon as part of developing the BMP.