Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,
Actual Rising Sand Levels Versus Debatable Rising Sea Levels.
A £3 million concrete wall, in the shape of an eight hundred metre long 'bench' (with gaps) is proposed for West Kirby promenade (NW England).
Over the last sixty years sand levels on the shore, at West Kirby, have risen by eight feet. Sixty years ago children used to jump from the promenade, down to the sandy beach, twelve feet below. Today the sand is just four feet below the promenade (between Riversdale Road and Dee Lane, West Kirby).
In Hoylake the sand level is now, in places, so that it is now just just 18 inches below that promenade.
Sand is deposited by the River Dee every day, the sediment originating in the mountains around Bala (in Wales) and then being washed towards West Kirby, via Llangollen, Wrexham and Chester.
Have the UK government or Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (“the Council”) considered the possibility that the 2013 flooding in West Kirby (and other parts of the Wirral peninsula) may be caused as a consequence of the observable rising sand levels and not by possible rising sea levels?
As a part of a specious 'consultation' process some citizens may stumble across a Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council questionnaire in which three, almost indistinguishable 'bench/wall' shapes are pictured. Citizens are then asked to choose between these four bench/wall shapes and four colours.........dark grey, light grey, pink or buff (sandy). The Council is, legally, obliged to operate a public participation process which is open, transparent and fair, in which all options are open. A sham of a 'consultation', in the form it is taking, does not meet the requirements of the 'Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters' (more often referred to as the Aarhus Convention). The UK became a Party to the Aarhus Convention in May 2005. The UK Environment Secretary who signed the Convention was Michael Meacher.
If there was a genuine public participation process, which was open, fair and transparent.......when all options were open.......surely DREDGING of sand from the West Kirby, Hoylake and New Brighton shorelines should be considered as one option. Sand could be stored for use on icy roads in wintertime. Some sand could be sold to the construction industry and some could be dumped at sea.
1. Please provide information concerning all considerations made by the Council of dredging sand from the shorelines of West Kirby, Hoylake, Meols and New Brighton.
2. Please provide details of the public participation process - implemented by the Council, concerning proposals to build a sea defence wall at West Kirby - as very specifically detailed in the Aarhus Convention (Article 6).
Dear Mr Rundle,
Thank you for your freedom of information Request (EIR-1388812).
In response to the two points you raise:
1. Please provide information concerning all considerations made by the
Council of dredging sand from the shorelines of West Kirby, Hoylake, Meols
and New Brighton.
Wirral Council, along with all coastal local authorities in England, takes
a strategic approach to managing flood and coastal erosion risk, as
required by Defra. Following on from the development of the Shoreline
Management Plan, which identified a ‘Hold the Line’ policy for West Kirby,
Wirral Council proceeded to produce the Wirral Coastal Strategy. This
document set out to identify sustainable arrangements for the future
management of flood and coastal erosion risk on the Wirral. The process of
Strategy development required a long list of options to be identified
which could then be reduced by removing unsustainable options to a short
list for further testing to determine whether they were economically,
socially and environmentally sustainable. Given the significant
environmental designations of north Wirral foreshores dredging at the
locations identified is not considered to be environmentally sustainable
and would also be likely to increase flood risk. The Coastal Strategy
concluded that a secondary defence structure would be necessary at West
Kirby to reduce flood risk.
During the Cabinet Meeting of the 10th October 2013, Wirral Council
cabinet members approved the Wirral Coastal Strategy (item 72). The link
to the relevant minutes for the Cabinet meeting is below. This page of the
website also has a link to the Executive Summary of the Coastal Strategy.
2. Please provide details of the public participation process -
implemented by the Council, concerning proposals to build a sea defence
wall at West Kirby - as very specifically detailed in the Aarhus
Convention (Article 6).
Public consultation began with the publication of the Shoreline Management
Plan (SMP2), which determined, among other things, the ‘Hold the Line’
policy for West Kirby and ran from October 2009 to February 2010. This was
publicised via leaflets in public buildings, press releases to local
media, letters to stakeholder groups and links to the SMP2 website from
local authority pages.
The next stage of the consultation process came about with the publication
of the Wirral Coastal Strategy, which following more detailed local
investigations, recommended a secondary defence structure on South Parade.
The Stakeholder Engagement Plan for the Wirral Coastal Strategy identified
that a public consultation exercise was required at the outset to identify
key issues to be addressed throughout the strategy development. This
initial phase of consultation was hosted on the “Have Your Say” page of
the Council website and advertised in the local media. This ran from May
2011 to December 2012.
Once the Coastal Strategy was finalised and approved work began on the
business case for a specific secondary defence at West Kirby. In 2015
residents potentially directly affected by the flood risk received a
letter letting them know about engagement activities and encouraging them
to attend and participate. A flyer and posters with information about the
drop-in sessions and exhibition displays were distributed in West Kirby
and the wider constituency before the engagement period began, and details
published on the Council’s website. Drop in sessions were also publicised
in the local press. The Environment Agency held a drop-in session at West
Kirby Library on Saturday 26th September 2015 to raise awareness about
flood risk and handed out flyers about the Council’s engagement activities
to people who were interested in finding out more. Three drop-in sessions
run by Wirral Council took place on Tuesday 13th October, 5pm-8pm at West
Kirby United Reformed Church and on Monday 19th October 5pm-8pm and
Thursday 22nd October at West Kirby Library. The consultation ran from the
12th to the 23rd October 2015.
It was established from the 2015 consultation that the preferred option
was for a permanent defence on the landward side of the promenade. Public
consultation events to inform the preferred shape and colour of the wall
and a preferred colour for the promenade surfacing took place on the 12th
& 19th March 2019 at West Kirby library and on the 14th March 2019 and at
the West Kirby United Reformed Church on the 14th March. A consultation
questionnaire was available at those events and at the library throughout
March with the deadline for submission set as the 31st March 2019. The
consultation was promoted through local media, the Council website and
social media. Emails were sent to those people who had registered an
interest during the previous consultations and a letter was sent to those
residents most immediately affected by tidal flooding.
I trust this response fulfils your enquiry.
Wirral Council would like to thank you for your patience.
Information Management Officer
Tel: 0151 666 5201
[Wirral Borough Council request email]
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