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Coast protection in West Dorset

We have approximately 44 kilometres (27 miles) of coast. About 4 kilometres of this is protected by coastal protection schemes.

We have responsibilities for the management of coast protection along its coastline. That is protection of the land from erosion by the sea. Various strategies are used for managing the erosion along different parts of the coast and these are set out in the shoreline management plans.

Coast Protection Work

Ringstead

This coast protection scheme was constructed in 1996 and comprises a rock groyne, slipway access to the beach and beach replenishment. Cut off drains were installed along with improved stream and ditch works. We monitor these defences and associated works and carry out maintenance works as necessary.

A beach management plan was produced in 2013 which sets out the plan for monitoring and intervention to maintain the beach and defences to ensure they provide adequate protection.

Seatown

This coast protection scheme was constructed in 1997 and comprises cliff drainage, soil nailing and rock armour placed against the existing soft cliffs. Further construction works were carried out in 2010 to repair and improve the existing rock armour defences and these were extended in 2017 to provide further protection as part of the Seatown Regeneration Project. We monitor these defences and associated works and carry out maintenance works as necessary.

Charmouth

This coast protection scheme was constructed in 1994 and comprises a steel sheet piled, stepped concrete sea wall, rock groyne and rock armour protection. We monitor these defences and associated works and carry out maintenance works as necessary.

Lyme Regis

Phase I

This coast protection scheme at Gun Cliff was completed in 1995 and built in partnership with South West Water and won awards for environmental excellence. The scheme comprises sea walls and rock armour within which is located a sewage pumping station. A promenade runs atop this linking the town with the East Cliff area of Lyme.

We also completed £1.4 million emergency stabilisation works at East Cliff, Church Cliff and land behind the harbour during the winter of 2003 to 2004.

Phase II (includes what was Phase III works)

This coast protection scheme was completed in 2007 and comprises foreshore and land stabilisation works to the main town beach and public gardens areas. The foreshore works mostly comprised shingle and sand beach replenishment, sea walls, jetties and rock armour realignment. The coastal slopes are stabilised using bored piles and soil nails along with trench and drilled drainage and slope regrading. Other works included improvements to Cobb Road and major landscaping works in Langmoor and Lister Gardens.

Phase II Information leaflet

Phase IV

This coast protection scheme was completed in 2014 and comprises foreshore and land stabilisation works to the Church Cliff and East Cliff areas of the town. A concrete sea wall was constructed in front of the existing sea wall which was in poor condition. This improves the coastal defences and facilitates a promenade which enables better access arrangements. The coastal slopes were stabilised using techniques such as soil nailing, piling, and various drainage systems.

Phase IV Information leaflet

Phase V: The Cobb

We plan to identify, develop and implement a project, or series of projects to upgrade the Cobb to:

  • meet the objectives of the Lyme Regis Environmental Improvement Scheme in terms of Coastal Protection, as identified in the LREI Strategy Plan
  • address current maintenance issues and prepare a plan for future monitoring and maintenance
  • upgrade surfaces and the general Cobb environment including lighting and signage compatible with the current commercial and leisure activities
  • facilitate ducting of utilities serving the buildings located on the Cobb

The scheme is broken down into 3 stages:

  • planning and options appraisal
  • preferred options scheme development
  • implementation - provisionally programmed for 2019 to 2020

West Bay

The West Cliff western coastal slopes were part of a stabilisation projection in 1997. This involved regrading of the existing slopes with imported fill materials and drainage behind the sea walls to prevent land slippage. The coastal footpath was reinstated as part of the works.

Coast protection and harbour improvement works were carried out from 2001 to 2003. The majority of the existing western pier was demolished and a new concrete and sheet pile pier constructed with rock armour protection. The eastern pier was strengthened and a concrete slipway built into the outer harbour area. Coastal protection measures included the construction of rock armour groynes and defences along with beach replenishment. Improvement and maintenance works are regularly carried out around the harbour and coastal defences.

We are working in partnership with the EA to raise the standard of protection of flood defences at West Bay. The scheme will focus on Parkdean river embankment, East Beach and West Beach.

It will involve the construction of a new sheet pile wall along the Parkdean river embankment to address risk of scour and breach failure, a rock revetment through the existing shingle on East Beach to resist a breach failure and a new stub groyne and beach replenishment of West Beach to reduce the frequency of overtopping with a new set back flood wall to protect properties from overtopping during storm events. The overall cost of the scheme is £11M. Work started in February 2019 and the main works are expected to be complete by mid-July 2019 so the beaches can be re-opened for the peak holiday season. We apologise for any disruption, while these vital works are completed.

More information about the works at West Bay.

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