Dunes coastal defence
The dunes at Sandhaven beach provide a vital coastal defence. In recent years the dunes have significantly depleted due to human trampling. Climate change predictions forecast a rise in sea levels and more extreme weather events and in their current state the dunes would not provide an adequate coastal defence, which may leave the foreshore area susceptible to flooding.
The Environment Agency has granted South Tyneside Council £300,000 to enhance the existing dune system. It was agreed that access to the dunes should be controlled to prevent further trampling, with the use of sand trap fencing and planting of more dune grasses to help to build upon current sand levels.
Contractors are to erect perimeter fencing to manage access to the dunes. The beach will still be accessed via designated walkways. Areas created around the dunes, termed as 'people nests', will be established so people can still gather and enjoy the dunes. The purpose of the project is to manage the dunes in a way that they can be preserved by directing the public's access to them. Chestnut pale fencing has been erected within the dunes to trap windblown sands and build upon current sand levels. Seeds collected from the dunes have been grown in Norfolk and are scheduled to be planted in February/ March, although the exact timing will be weather dependent. The grasses will help to establish the dune system by trapping sand and helping to increase biodiversity.
Work started onsite in October and is scheduled for completion March/April 2012.
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