Anti-erosion options revealed

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OPTIONS to arrest erosion at Montrose beach were revealed this week with the publication of the second part of a study by Dundee University.

The report identifies four possible methods, totalling between £1.5million and £3million, to slow down the rate of erosion which is threatening the dune system as well as parts of the town’s historic golf course.

It proposes an integrated approach, employing all four options which would be monitored over a period of time although none are quick-fix measures and it could be years before there is any noticeable change.

Recharging the beach annually with sand dredged from the harbour navigation channel in the South Esk estuary has been put forward as well as a one-off shoreface recharge using sand from elsewhere in Scotland. The report also suggests the installation of beach control structures - sand containers protecting the toe of the dunes - and dune management using a combination of fencing and grass planting.

It was also recommended that prior to any work starting a survey of the channel is carried out to establish its depth in conjunction with a programme to monitor the profile of the beach.

The study’s findings were due to be considered by Angus Council’s infrastructure services committee on Tuesday.

In his report to members, director Eric Lowson said: “It must be noted that these measures would have to be implemented concurrently and carried out over a number of years.

“Should any of the proposed measures have a negative impact on the sediment supply along the bay, then these measures would have to be re-evaluated.”

Speaking before Tuesday’s meeting, committee convener Councillor David May said that collectively the proposals have the potential to slow down the rate of erosion within the bay.

He said: “I am keen that we have formal discussions with the other stakeholders as soon as possible so I will be asking the members of the infrastructure services committee to support the recommendations to allow these discussions to start as soon as possible.

“Montrose Golf Links Limited has already spent considerable sums of money changing the fairway of the second tee, which has been moved substantially and it’s of particular concern in light of the fact that next year is the 450th year of the golf course.

“The experts from Dundee University have produced a technical but very good report and of the four measures some are relatively cheap and some are expensive and the one that would have the biggest impact is going to be the most expensive. “But there are very positive messages now the report is in the public domain.”

The next stage of the scheme would be to seek agreement from stakeholders, including Montrose Port Authority, Montrose Golf Links Limited, Marine Scotland, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage, as well as to source and secure funding for the work.