Survey to help combat erosion

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A £400,000 survey is underway to help discover the causes of coastal erosion along the East Yorkshire Coast.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council launched the first-of-its-kind survey at the beginning of the year, and when results are published after the survey ends in mid April it will help fill in gaps in the council’s knowledge of how erosion is affecting the coast.

Erosion is a problem all the way down the East Yorkshire Coast, and is especially bad around the coast of Skipsea and Ulrome.

Last month, the Free Press reported how the home of Skipsea resident Lesley Watson, plus many other homes, were dangerously close to the edge of the cliff - which has seen 20-30ft of erosion since 2007.

Now, East Riding council hope the study will be good news for vulnerable homeowners up and down the coast who are fearing their properties may be worthless as the sea eats the beaches and cliffs away.

Neil McLachlan, coastal engineer for the council, is excited about seeing the reults of the survey.

He said: “When the sand levels on our beaches go up and down we don’t know where the sand goes to.

“We’ll be able to assess the impact of dredging that is done offshore and see if that is where we are losing the beach.

“Nowhere has coastal erosion been quite this bad, so if any area needed this survey then it’s the East Coast as it is a very important stretch.

“A lot of this type of work has already been done on the South Coast, but we needed it done here to fill in the gaps of our knowledge.”

Mr McLachlan said that without this type of information, helping those living on the coast has proved difficult.

“The area off Skipsea and Ulrome is one point that we really want to look at,” he continued.

“This survey will be comprehensive, and from then on we will try and repeat it maybe every five years or so, and investigate any changes.

“We are looking forward to getting the results later this month, the data we have seen already looks fascinating. The more knowledge we have, the more preventative action we can take.”

The study, which has been commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) using money from the EU, will produce an accurate map of the seabed from Flamborough Head down to Spurn Point - from the shore up to 2km out to sea.

Results of the survey will be an important addition to the council’s shoreline management plan, as engineers are currently only working with knowledge of the shore itself - not what is happening beneath the waves.

To complete the study, which is known as a ‘bathymetric survey’, sound pulses will be transmitted to the seabed and collected by a survey vessel, which will help experts measure the depth of the seabed in various locations.

Work is being supervised by Pell Frischmann, a national consultancy firm, and carried out by specialist seabed survey company, Netsurvey.

Councillor Jane Evison, portfolio holder for cultural services, housing and public protection at East Riding Council, said the survey would provide welcome information to help the council in the future.

“It is an investigative piece of work that will really help us understand what is happening on the seabed off our coast.

“The reason for doing this is about planning for the future. The more information there is, the more can be done for people living on the coast.”