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Five-year study looks at how Poole coastline can be protected
A SCHEME to protect Poole’s coastline and create natural sea defences at a popular windsurfing bay starts today.
Over the next five years, a study funded by the Environment Agency will investigate ways of creating and regenerating a saltmarsh sandy beach in front of the sea wall at Whitley Bay.
Sand levels along Banks Road were once much higher and heavily populated with saltmarsh vegetation that grows in salt water, which provided a natural coastal defence.
The road there is prone to flooding.
The trial areas will be constructed, each using a different material to encourage a natural build up of sand and silt which will raise the level of the seabed and should encourage saltmarsh or marram grasses to grow.
One area will consist of two shingle islands to raise the foreshore to a level that will help the regrowth of saltmarsh.
Another will use timber to create a perimeter of approximately 30cm high which should naturally fill with silt and sand.
The third area will use plastic drainage pipes to construct a similar area.
They will be monitored to assess their progress and evaluate which is best suited to the environmental conditions.
“It is widely understood that saltmarsh is a natural coastal barrier helping to reduce the impact of waves breaking on the foreshore,” said Stuart Terry, coastal manager, Borough of Poole.
“This reduces subsequent erosion off the foreshore which puts the existing sea defences at greater risk.
“By investigating ways of working with nature we hope to avoid or delay taking other measures such as increasing the height of the existing concrete wall around Whitley Lake when sea levels rise.”
The council will be working with Natural England and academic institutions to help identify, develop and evaluate more solutions.
Cllr Xena Dion, cabinet portfolio holder for the environment said: “We apologise for any inconvenience to people in the area.
“However, it is vital we preserve the coastline as well as ensuring the stability of our existing sea defences to safeguard the borough.”