Coastguards warn 'lives at risk' after more Dorset landslides

Dorset Echo: Coastguards warn 'lives at risk' after more Dorset landslides Coastguards warn 'lives at risk' after more Dorset landslides

COASTGUARDS are warning people that lives are at risk along the Jurassic coastline after two more landslides this weekend.

Fllowing weeks of severe storms and unprecedented rainfall, members of the public are being urged to stay away from the unstable cliffs.

The county has taken a hammering during the recent wild weather causing two landslides to come crashing down on Monmouth Beach in Lyme Regis over the weekend.

A spokesman for Portland Coastguard said: “It was known that there was no one in the area at the time of the fall but there is more material to come down and given the weather conditions, state of tide and the fact that it is half term holiday, it poses a significant casualty risk.”

A landslide warning remains in place as heavy downpours also caused unstable cliff faces to collapse further along the Dorset coast at Lulworth Cove with another significant landslide between Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers, which caused concern for coastguards and emergency services.

The landslide covered across the promenade and onto the beach, and a cordon has now been placed around the area at the top and bottom of the cliff.

There have been further reports of movement along parts of the coast with more rock, debris and earth expected to fall.

Dozens of fossil hunters have been clambering over recent falls looking for specimens despite repeated pleas to stay away.

A spokesman for Portland Coastguard has urged people to heed their warnings and said rescue teams are monitoring the situation closely.

Coastguards say large sections of England's fragile south coast is crumbling into the sea, with landslides caused when heavy rainfall mixes with soft stone.

Earlier last week, local authority representatives took to the skies to survey the damage caused by the recent wild weather.

Earth science manager Richard Edmonds, of Dorset County Council's Jurassic Coast Team, who took part in the RAF helicopter survey, said: “My interest is the coast particularly and I have been able to make a quick survey of the significant or potentially significant erosion of the cliffs and the changes to Chesil Beach.”

He is now urging residents to stay away from unstable cliffs and the beaches below them.

He added: “While it is impossible to predict from this, or any other survey approach, where the next rock fall or landslide may take place, I was really surprised by the number of obviously fresh rock falls in the cliffs between Freshwater and Burton Bradstock.

“I would also add that the same applies to the cliffs from Freshwater to West Bay.

“The base of these cliffs have taken a massive pounding by the sea and that considerably increases the probability of rock falls.

“Stay away from the base of cliffs and cliff tops.

“There is an increased risk of rock falls and landslides over the next few weeks and months.”

LANDSLIPS caused by heavy rain in recent years in Dorset led to three people losing their lives.

Rosemary Snell and Michael Rolfe from Somerset were found entombed in a car 10 days after the partial collapse of Beaminster Tunnel in July 2012.

A week after the gruesome discovery, 22-year-old Charlotte Blackman was crushed under 400 tonnes of rock when part of the cliffs at Hive Beach near Burton Bradstock came down.

An inquest into her death at Dorchester was told that the rockfall was a 'sudden act of nature', which no one could have predicted.

Comments (1)

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6:54pm Sun 23 Feb 14

goodmorningcanary says...

When the PR sound bite 'Jurassic Coast' was coined what did they think would happen? It was used to attract the tourist pound, to tap into the popularity of films like Jurassic Park. Sadly viewers of such Hollywood fantasies may not be familiar with the risks involved in hunting for fossils without the benefit of local knowledge and caution.
When the PR sound bite 'Jurassic Coast' was coined what did they think would happen? It was used to attract the tourist pound, to tap into the popularity of films like Jurassic Park. Sadly viewers of such Hollywood fantasies may not be familiar with the risks involved in hunting for fossils without the benefit of local knowledge and caution. goodmorningcanary
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