Shifting sands

Sand dredging'The sand dredging operation taking place on South Bay as the council raedies the beach for the summer season.'Picture by Neil Silk  121738a'26/04/12
Sand dredging'The sand dredging operation taking place on South Bay as the council raedies the beach for the summer season.'Picture by Neil Silk 121738a'26/04/12
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WORK to regrade the sands of Scarborough’s South Bay beach is set to continue next week ahead of the start of the busy tourist season.

This week visitors noticed large earth moving vehicles busily shifting the sands which had built up towards the back of the beach by wind and high tides during the winter months.

The annual South Bay sand regrading scheme has once again been organised by Scarborough Council and aims to reduce the risk of severe flooding in Foreshore Road.

Stewart Rowe, the council’s principal coastal officer, said: “There is a tendency for sand to accumulate in front of the sea wall at the north end of South Bay in the lee of the West Pier.

“In winter this results in frequent wave uprush over the wall and across the road, causing property damage and the need for regular clean-up operations. Sand blocking drains and gullies restricts the free drainage of floodwater which lengthens the duration of flood incidents, prolonging the misery for those affected.

“When beach volumes reach a critical level in the northern section, sand is excavated in the vicinity of the Foreshore and then spread and graded in front of the sea wall that protects the Spa approach road.

“In the absence of these beach management activities, beach levels would accumulate to the point where waves would ‘ramp’ across the upper foreshore, overtop the seawall and cause even more serious flooding in Foreshore Road than we experience now.”

Foreshore Road was laid out along the back of the beach in the 1870s, with a broad carriageway and promenade created behind a small seawall – but the consequence of a smaller seawall means the area is prone to flooding during heavy sea conditions.

Mr Rowe added that the recycling of sand also had the effect of offsetting the slow erosion that was perceived to have been happening for some time towards the southern end of the South Bay – although this benefit was only temporary as the recycled sand would tend to move back towards the north of the South Bay naturally or during storms.

Levels will be reduced to around 1.2 metres below the crest of the seawall directly at its toe, falling to a zero metre reduction 25 metres from the seawall.

Tuesday also marks the start of a seasonal dog ban on some of the main tourist beaches on the Yorkshire coast.