£1.5m plan to protect homes in North Yorkshire fishing village threatened by landslips

ALMOST 100 homes in an ancient North Yorkshire fishing village are set to be protected under a 'critical' £1.5m scheme to prevent a repeat of a devastating landslip more than 300  years ago which meant the whole settlement had to be re-built.

Runswick Bay.

The major project, which is now under way at Runswick Bay, near Whitby, has been designed to provide a century of coastal protection for 96 properties by preventing waves coming over the sea walls and helping to prevent the impact of climate change.

The coastline at the village and its surrounding area consists of unstable cliffs, which are made up of soft Jurassic bedrock and weak glacial sediments, and are susceptible to landslides.

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The first recorded landslip happened in 1682 when the whole village, which was situated further north than its current location, collapsed towards the shore.

The coastal protection scheme which has been drawn up is being led by Scarborough Borough Council and funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), via the Environment Agency, and the Runswick Bay Sea Defence Trust, a group of homeowners and residents who have contributed to the scheme to help secure the future of their community.

The project involves building new concrete protection in front of the sea wall.

There will be new access steps, repairs to the sandstone walls and the installation of 10,000 tonnes of rock armour in front of the existing sea wall. This will allow the creation of 150 small rock pools which will become a habitat for sea life.

Scarborough Borough Council’s cabinet member for major projects Coun Mike Cockerill said: “The scheme is critical to ensure the long term protection of the Runswick Bay community and it is very rewarding to see works get under way. Reaching the construction phase has been a fantastic example of partnership working, in particular the involvement of the Runswick Bay Sea Defence Trust, which has been instrumental in ensuring the scheme can be delivered and has given those who will eventually benefit from the scheme a chance to get directly involved in its financing and development.”

The project, which is being delivered by contractors from ESH Construction and supervised by Royal Haskoning DHV, is one of a series of coastal protection and preservation schemes set to come to fruition in the coming months with help from funding from the Environment Agency.

Last week Coun Cockerill told The Yorkshire Post that the funding was vital in helping to protect communities on the Yorkshire coast.

The Environment Agency’s flood and coastal erosion risk officer for Yorkshire Vicky Murray said: “The Environment Agency, Scarborough Borough Council and the Runswick Bay community have worked together to fund and deliver a cost-effective solution to coastal erosion at the site and have received valued input from stakeholders and contractors.

“In addition to the 100-year coastal erosion protection, the scheme also offers important socio-environmental benefits including new access steps to the beach and implementation of pioneering techniques to encourage recolonisation of the site by native species.”