The netting being put in place will help stabilise the cliffs and reduce the risk to the public from falling debris
The netting being put in place will help stabilise the cliffs and reduce the risk to the public from falling debris

Netting will be used to stabilise the cliffs by catching loose material and will ensure that the footpath can stay open

A programme of stabilisation works to the cliffs at Beer is currently being carried out by Vertical Technology Ltd, working on behalf of East Devon District Council.

The contractors began work on Monday 3 February 2020 and are expected to take around three weeks to complete the task of installing netting on the cliff face.

The netting will stabilise the cliff area adjacent to the end of the sloped footpath leading to East Beach by catching loose debris such as rocks and soil.

It will ensure that this footpath can safely remain open and will reduce the risk of damage to nearby beach huts, resulting from falling cliff material.

This material can then be released from the netting in a controlled manner and without risk to the public.  

The works are taking place following recommendations made in the council’s annual cliff inspections, which identified an area of potentially unstable cliff face and soils.

The far end of the footpath is now closed while the works are carried out. However diversions are in place and disabled access to the beach is possible via Sea Hill.

East Devon’s contractors will install 18 metres x 6 metres of PVC-coated steel mesh, secured by 24 stainless steel rock bolts grouted into place, with the netting tensioned through stainless steel cabling. The rock bolts will be installed using a drilling rig suspended from the cliff and powered using a compressor on the beach.

As part of the works programme, approximately 110 metres of corroded steel tensioning cable together with previously installed netting will be replaced. This element of the works may require longer footpath closure, which will be clearly signposted.

Consent for the works have been obtained from Natural England and the scheme has been agreed with the Jurassic Coast Trust.

The construction methodology and proposed measures will have minimal impact on the natural environment and geology of the area, and are in the public interest.

In addition to the cliff netting extension works, the council’s annual cliff inspections will take place from 2 March 2020 and are expected to last for around one and half weeks. These inspections cover the cliffs maintained by the council at Beer, Budleigh Salterton, Seaton and Sidmouth. They will be completed by East Devon’s appointed rope access contractors, Abcas Ltd, with supervision by an Engineering Geologist from John Grimes Partnership Ltd.

Cllr Geoff Jung, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said:

The safety of East Devon’s beaches is a high priority to the council, and these works will allow the public to continue to enjoy Beer’s outstanding beach safely without compromising this unique and beautiful world heritage site. We would like to thank the public for their patience during these works.

Further information (will be publicised via Twitter @eastdevon, Facebook Page and Instagram.