VIDEO: Row over boulders on Chesil Beach

A digger on Chesil Beach

A digger on Chesil Beach

First published in News
Last updated
Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

COUNCIL chiefs have come under fire after tonnes of boulders were put on Chesil Beach.

It comes as part of emergency, temporary repair work which is being carried out at the site to repair sea defences.

The Environment Agency says the large boulders, which appeared near Chesil Cove on Saturday, will be used as a temporary repair to the gabion sea defences.

But Portland residents and environmental campaigners fear they are going to be used to concrete an area below Quiddles Cafe on the seafront.

There is fear that such intervention may worsen the situation, causing long-term damage to the natural iconic landmark.

Islanders are demanding more transparency on decisions involving the World Heritage Site.

Environmental campaigner Storm Wallace told the Echo: “The work that they’ve planned revolves around the fact that clay is visible which they must have thought was permanent – but it’s already gone.

“They definitely need to re-evaluate what they’re doing.”

She added: “The project manager at the council told me that they didn’t realise the beach would repair itself this quickly.”

She added: “It shocks me that they didn’t know and that they haven’t researched Chesil Beach at all.

“We’ve heard they are using 500 tonnes of those big rocks to build a road on the pebbles from the Masonic hall to the corner at Quiddle – then going to concrete them in as a huge flat area.”

Anger is rising at the lack of communication between authorities, Portland residents and the Crown Estate, the landowners of Chesil Beach.

Izzy Imset, of diving group Underwater Explorers and of Chesil Beach Watch, said: “We need more transparency on decisions involving a World Heritage Site of global importance.

“Whether what’s being done is right or wrong, lasting or passing, the people of Portland and Weymouth are stakeholders in its future.”

He added: “Much of the current debate stems from the belief that nature, the beach, will heal itself as it has done so since the last Ice Age.

“Our understanding is that local representatives of the Crown Estate were not informed in advance of the plan involving the boulders.

“And that the plan itself is based on the temporary, natural if not frequent, exposure of the clay banks which are already covered up by the pebbles.

“It is now said that given the banks are back where they belong, the plans may be revised.”

Current plans will be carried out alongside work by the military and is set to be complete by March 5.

A spokesman for the Crown Estate said: “In this case, the Environment Agency is responsible for coastal protection and therefore determines if further measures are needed to protect local communities and what these might be.

“As the owner of Chesil Beach we aren’t standing in the way of this process.”

• COUNCILLOR Ian Roebuck, spokesman for environment and sustainability, said: “Emergency repair works led by the Environment Agency are currently under way at Chesil Beach.

“The repairs are necessary to prevent a failure of the sea wall and are in the best interests of public safety.

“Engineers from the borough council are meeting with the Environment Agency and its contractors Royal Haskoning DHV this week to discuss the final designs to repair the sea wall at Chesil Beach.

“Once designs for the repairs have been finalised, a drop-in session will be publicised to make sure local people are kept informed of the programme of works.”

• EMERGENCY repair work costing hundreds of thousands of pounds is being carried out to strengthen Dorset’s sea defences.

It comes after some of the most devastating storms hit the Jurassic Coast, leaving Dorset with an estimated overall repair bill of millions of pounds.

The county is beginning to recover from the worst of the weather, which has left beaches and seafronts devastated, hundreds of properties flooded and farmland unusable.

The Environment Agency is working to protect the sea defences at Preston Beach and Chesil Beach on Portland.

Work at Preston Beach involves a ‘rock armour’ addition costing £300,000 and is scheduled to be complete in the next 10 days.

 

Comments (7)

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5:14am Wed 26 Feb 14

ThomasFairfax says...

History is littered with examples of how, "emergency, temporary repair work" all too frequently becomes a permanent feature.
History is littered with examples of how, "emergency, temporary repair work" all too frequently becomes a permanent feature. ThomasFairfax
  • Score: 7

8:06am Wed 26 Feb 14

arlbergbahn says...

Repair the sea wall if necessary but not the beach, fools. The beach doesn't need repairing by the hand of man, it's just your stupid arrogance that makes you believe that you can better nature, which usually means concreting all over it.
Repair the sea wall if necessary but not the beach, fools. The beach doesn't need repairing by the hand of man, it's just your stupid arrogance that makes you believe that you can better nature, which usually means concreting all over it. arlbergbahn
  • Score: 25

10:07am Wed 26 Feb 14

fleetcruiser2 says...

After the 1978-79 events, of which I have first experience, the beach rebuilt itself, was pulled apart to reinforce the defences, rebuilt itself CCC again. It did the same in 1986. Do I need to say more?
After the 1978-79 events, of which I have first experience, the beach rebuilt itself, was pulled apart to reinforce the defences, rebuilt itself CCC again. It did the same in 1986. Do I need to say more? fleetcruiser2
  • Score: 8

10:16am Wed 26 Feb 14

woodsedge says...

I really cannot understand the rationale behind the current plan and the lumps of Portland stone on the beach. Already nature is providing the answer with at least another three feet in height of pebbles already recovered onto the beach. Surely all the EA needs to do is harvest the pebbles daily and revstablish the bank. I also believe that the urgency in which the boulders were dumped onto the beach will not be there when the time comes to remove them. Being a realist I don't think they will ever be removed because once the flooding stops being a political football the money will not be there to do it.
I really cannot understand the rationale behind the current plan and the lumps of Portland stone on the beach. Already nature is providing the answer with at least another three feet in height of pebbles already recovered onto the beach. Surely all the EA needs to do is harvest the pebbles daily and revstablish the bank. I also believe that the urgency in which the boulders were dumped onto the beach will not be there when the time comes to remove them. Being a realist I don't think they will ever be removed because once the flooding stops being a political football the money will not be there to do it. woodsedge
  • Score: 12

11:21am Wed 26 Feb 14

portland rebel says...

every day i have watched them moving stones, and every day after high water the currents have done their own thing, all that money and labour being wasted because they know better, this is the agency that spent 3 months concreting 3 or 4 steps on the gambions when any normal person could have done the same in a week.
every day i have watched them moving stones, and every day after high water the currents have done their own thing, all that money and labour being wasted because they know better, this is the agency that spent 3 months concreting 3 or 4 steps on the gambions when any normal person could have done the same in a week. portland rebel
  • Score: 1

8:25pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Tinker2 says...

Why have we got diggers all over the beach moving pebbles about and worse still, flytipping lumps of stone?
I lived down in Chiswell and also up at Cove Cottages for many years, and watched the natural movement of pebbles with each wave and each storm. The big waves of a storm may have resculptured the beach into a sharper gradiant, but the next series of mini storms simply washed the pebbles back up the beach.
Why, oh why, is the Environment Agency wasting countless £thousands of tax payers money on tinkering about, and in the case of the rocks, defacing the beach?
Their track record on Preston Beach just speaks for itself.
Why have we got diggers all over the beach moving pebbles about and worse still, flytipping lumps of stone? I lived down in Chiswell and also up at Cove Cottages for many years, and watched the natural movement of pebbles with each wave and each storm. The big waves of a storm may have resculptured the beach into a sharper gradiant, but the next series of mini storms simply washed the pebbles back up the beach. Why, oh why, is the Environment Agency wasting countless £thousands of tax payers money on tinkering about, and in the case of the rocks, defacing the beach? Their track record on Preston Beach just speaks for itself. Tinker2
  • Score: 2

1:32pm Thu 27 Feb 14

JamesYoung says...

I've seen the signs prohibiting removal of pebbles from the beach; could somebody confirm whether or not the rules apply to the boulders as well? I thought i might sling half a dozen in the boot of my car as i'm planning an adventure playground in my back garden.
I've seen the signs prohibiting removal of pebbles from the beach; could somebody confirm whether or not the rules apply to the boulders as well? I thought i might sling half a dozen in the boot of my car as i'm planning an adventure playground in my back garden. JamesYoung
  • Score: 1

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