Holland Residents Association and Clacton & Holland Beach Hut Association had meetings this week. I spoke about sea defenses at both meetings.
Holland Residents Association was on Monday 22 October. To say I was asked to speak at short notice is something of an understatement as someone just gave me a microphone and said
“Jeremy’s now going to talk about sea defenses”
So I prepared some slides for the Clacton & Holland Beach Hut Association meeting just in case! You can look at the slides from my talk but the key points are
Correctly designed and maintained groynes are essential for defending the sea wall.
The three important features of groynes are their
In particular it is essential groynes are above the level of the sea at high tide, ideally 1 meter above spring high tides for about 5 meters from the sea wall.
I showed 36 slides for my talk, but the following 2 pictures highlight the problem
Looking north from the pier at high tide
Looking south from the pier at high tide
These pictures were taken on the same day at almost exactly the same time I pointed the camera north then turned around and pointed the camera south.
Looking south there is a bank of dry sand in front of the sea wall and you can see the groynes are above the level of the sea.
Looking north you can not see the groynes as they are completely covered by the sea.
IT’S THAT SIMPLE
When groynes are built correctly a bank of dry sand builds up in front of the sea wall, protecting the sea from reaching the wall. Without this bank of the sand the sea erodes the sea wall and eventually the sea wall collapses.
There has been at least one sea wall collapse at Holland (in 2007).
In 2011 a digger fell through the sea wall as the sea had washed away material from underneath the promenade.
I also reported on the meeting I had with TDC and Mott MacDonald which I have already posted about.
- TDC have appointed Mott MacDonald to provide a plan to repair and regenerate the sea wall.
- Mott MacDonald has also been tasked with locating sources of funding
- The plan is to start at Holland Haven, no doubt because of the poor state of the sea wall.
I have been sent a copy of Environment Agency Anglian region budget for 2012-13 and it appears there is £40million for Clacton and Holland (yes forty million pounds – look at tab2 cell R25).
EA have another spreadsheet for habitat creation showing nearly £17million has been allocated for this, what a waste.
Given the cost of sorting out the sea defenses has been estimated at between £20 to £100 million, if EA have allocated £40 million for 2012-13 alone this represents a very substantial contribution.
Bear in mind the cost of sorting out sea defenses will be spread over many years, TDC and Mott MacDonald are planning for the next 100 years. So even if the cost is £100million this is only £1million/year over 100 years, less than is currently being spent on emergency repairs.
Ian Davidson – Chief Exec of TDC
Ian Davidson was expected to attend but didn’t.
Douglas Carswell mp
Douglas spoke at some length, covering what Ian Davidson might have said.
As I understand it Douglas’ main points were
- Central government has no money to fund repairs to sea defenses at Clacton and Holland-on-Sea.
- Cheaper creative solutions, such as converting oil rigs to reefs, are required.
I remain confused by these points as
Only minutes before I had reported Mott MacDonald have been tasked with finding new sources of funding.
EA have £40million in their budget for Clacton and Holland for 2012-13 alone
No mention was made or ‘rigs to reefs’ at the meeting with TDC and Mott MacDonald.
No mention was made of ‘rigs to reefs’ in report of TDC March Cabinet
Ian Taylor – TDC Streets and Sea Fronts Manager
Ian spoke and answered questions in a very friendly and relaxed manner focusing mainly (as far as I can remember) on beach hut owners concerns about access to beach, bins, car access to promenade and more.
It seemed to me most if not all the fifty or so people at the meeting agreed with my case that the state of the beach is due to lack of repairs of groynes.
This neglect has gone on for at least 10 years.
TDC charges beach hut owners at Holland about £166 ex vat if they are a local resident and £350 for non locals. There are about 400 beach huts, 260 owned by locals and 140 by non locals.
This means TDC received about £92,000 from beach hut owners in 2012/13, nearly £1 million over 10 years. But according to TDC figures only around £40,000 was spent on repairing groynes at Holland since 2004. NOTHING AT ALL was spent in 2010/11 and 2011/12.
So in the 8 years from 2004 to 2012 less than 1/2 the amount of money TDC received from beach hut owners IN ONE YEAR was spent on repairing groynes.
No groynes means no beach.
Is it unreasonable for people who pay for a beach hut to have a beach – preferably one with sand on.
I walked along the sea front talking to beach hut owners on 11 and 12 August. One of things which made me sad as the number of elder people who said something like
“I’m over 80 now – I’ll be gone before the beach is repaired“