Hi-tech surveys reveal extent of coastal erosion
A COUNCIL has renewed calls for a national fund to help communities affected by coastal erosion after a survey revealed more than 4ft of land each month is being lost to the sea on part of the East Coast.
Research by East Riding Council showed about 26ft of land had been lost in parts of Aldbrough in Holderness in the six months to September last year.
The authority said the wet summer had not contributed to an “appreciable increase” in overall cliff erosion rates, but it had identified several “hot spots” where higher than average losses occurred.
Almost 16.5ft of land disappeared between Hornsea and Rolston, where there were “large losses” along a 1.5-mile stretch of the coast over the period, while losses of more than 2ft a month were recorded in areas between Mappleton and RAF Cowden, at Hilston, and between Withernsea and Hollym.
The Environment Agency carries out surveys on behalf of the council every six months using GPS, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology, and aerial photography to give a precise picture of how the coast has changed since the previous survey.
The council said it is difficult to establish an average rate of erosion for its coastline, but said it was between one and three metres a year.
Long stretches of the coast between the hotspots had suffered little, if any, erosion over the period, it said.
However last May the council urged people to stay away from cliff tops after a sudden and dramatic landfall just south of the village of Skipsea at a place called Withow Gap.
Residents said 12ft had fallen away in a month as the sea made its seemingly inexorable progress inland.
The council, which has previously said there is “a real risk to life associated with living close to the cliff edge”, wants to see a new fund for at-risk communities after allocating nearly all of the £1.2m it was given under the Coastal Change Pathfinder scheme.
It has about £143,000 left available to new applicants.
Councillor Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economic development, tourism and rural issues, said: “The council continues to work positively with local MPs to lobby Defra Ministers for a dedicated, ongoing fund to help our residents to deal with the effects of coastal erosion.
“That type of fund would allow us to build on the good work that we’ve been able to deliver in coastal communities through the Coastal Change Pathfinder.”
The council administered the pathfinder fund between February 2010 and March 2012, and by early last year the scheme had resulted in the demolition of 44 threatened properties and structures and worked with 80 households, 16 businesses and 26 community groups.
Last June, the Yorkshire Post revealed that millions of pounds of coastal change pathfinder funding which was intended to protect vulnerable communities from coastal erosion was gathering interest in council bank accounts nearly three years after being awarded – and could end up being spent on schools, roads and street lighting.
At the time, East Riding Council had spent only 40 per cent of the grant it received in December 2009.
Scarborough Council had spent only two per cent of the £1.02m it was given after failing to reach an agreement with residents – the lowest spend of any of the 15 pathfinder councils.
And bosses at the North Yorkshire authority had more bad news for residents this week when they told the owners of four homes left perilously near a cliff after a landslip that they must be demolished.
It is not the first time that residents of bungalows at Knipe Point have been faced with seeing their homes torn down because of the crumbling cliff face – in 2008 three properties had to be demolished after a landslip.
The council said two of the affected residents would be eligible for cash from the pathfinder scheme, which was set up to assist those most at risk from coastal erosion who were not eligible for other forms of funding.
But the other two properties were not eligible because they were purchased after the original landslide and after the pathfinder funding was secured.
The money can be used by homeowners to build somewhere new in the event their Knipe Point properties are condemned.
East Riding residents are being invited to attend drop-in sessions next month to discuss the data, which will be applied to maps, and discuss the issue with council officers. Coastal businesses will be invited to a separate event.
The public sessions will be at Skipsea Village Hall on Monday February 25 from 3pm to 7pm, at Aldbrough Village Hall between the same times the next day, and at Withernsea’s Pavilion Leisure Centre on Wednesday February 27 from 4pm to 7.30pm.
A new forum to discuss coastal change will be established later this year.
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Weather for Yorkshire
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 18 C
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Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
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