THE FREdome VISIONARY TRUST Registered Charity Number 1147724
Coastal Erosion Bioshield Solution for East Anglia News Update
Our proposals for addressing coastal erosion and the drought deluge cycle in East Anglia have been presented to David Cameron along with the main Operation OASIS Project. Mr Cameron forwarded the papers that were left with him on to Caroline Spelman Secretary of State Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) We have since received a 2 page promising response and will be replying to Ms Spelman shortly.
Since we last updated you, we have written to DEFRA and discovered how the bioshield solution to coastal erosion was missed. We have also opened very interesting dialogue with the Environment Agency, who have no objection to using vegetation, and possibly even stone-filled gabions, to defend against coastal erosion. They advised us to apply to NNDC for permission to conduct a pilot demonstration of the methods, which we are doing. We have opened dialogue with Natural Englnd to question the validity of the SSSI and to ask if they would be willing to work with us in a community led project that has the potential to slow down / arrest coastal erosion. Since our meeting in Happisburgh, NNDC have placed sandbags to slow erosion of the Happisburgh ramp sediment. Bryony Nierop-Reading who is convinced this remedial action was a result from our meeting, is forming the “Save England SOS – Happisburgh Branch.” Please start collecting tree seeds and germinate in plastic bags of soil in your garden, grow saplings in pots to build stocks for future plantings to the bioshield. Please read on for more detailed information about all this…
Further to our last newsletter, we have traced the DEFRA audit trail back from the curent SMP's to find out how the bioshield solution to coastal erosion, flooding and storm surge mitigation that we are proposing was inadvertantly missed when investigating best practices from overseas: In response to a Freedom of Information request Defra confirmed that they had not considered bioshields as an effective and sustainable method of coastal defence as demonstrated successfully in New Zealand and documented to withstand even the full force of the tsunami in West Java. They helpfully supplied references recording that they had tasked an engineering company to research best international practice. Coastal vegetation would have been beyond the company’s scope and outside their field of interest. Local authority strategies for coastal protection, based upon Shoreline Management Plans, based in turn upon the results of Defra research, will therefore inadvertently omit this important option. http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/coastal_erosion_and_flooding_gov
In addition, our investigation revealed that DEFRA had attended the United Nations Environment Programme and Global Programme of Action (UNEP/GPA) Tsunami Disaster Task Force on February 17, 2005 in Cairo to discuss coastal zone rehabilitation and management in the tsunami-affected regions. Attendees from the affected nations and supporting international institutions endorsed twelve key principles discussed:
• Facilitate the exchange of experience and the rapid dissemination of emerging good practices.
Enhance the ability of the natural system to act as a bioshield to protect people and their livelihoods by conserving, managing and restoring wetlands, mangroves, spawning areas, seagrass beds and coral reefs; and by seeking alternative natural barriers to flooding and coastal erosion, such as coral reefs, near-shore rock outcrops, sandbars, and sand dunes should be protected from construction activity and uses that compromise their structural integrity. They reduce, absorb and redirect waves and floodwaters.
• Incorporate these natural features and habitats into a designated coastal bioshield that maximizes the protection from coastal hazards and the associated benefits provided by these natural features. Adopt measures to protect bio-shields from activities that compromise their natural qualities. Protect them from future disturbance and, where feasible, restore them. • Where feasible, plant trees seaward of the setback line to form a greenbelt that buffers the shore from waves, floods and erosion. • Prohibit the mining of sand, coral and stone from coastal waters within the 20-meter depth contour. • Regulate sand mining from rivers. • Declare wetlands and mangroves as off limits for harvest of wood.
• Promote design that is cost-effective, appropriate and consistent with best practice and placement of infrastructure away from hazard and resource areas, and favouring innovative and soft engineering solutions to coastal erosion control.
Can trees succeed where concrete fails? This was a question raised at our meeting in Happisburgh.
The debris and absence of lower branches shows how high the tsunami rose and yet this coastal forest withstood the full force while concrete, bricks and steel were ripped apart and added to the destructive force along with ships and vehicles.
East Anglia Meeting Output
At our recent meeting in Happisburgh – “Fighting Coastal Erosion and Climate Change” – FREdome presented new evidence to show that coastal vegetation, especially with entwined roots binding stones in gabions (metal baskets) to coastal soil, can defend coastlines against even tsunamis, reduce drought/deluge and pilot a potential global solution to climate change and rising sea-levels.
Our web stats show that not all of you have clicked through to the report yet. We encourage you to do so, as it makes very interesting reading. The Meeting output file can be downloaded or viewed online here: http://bit.ly/erosionmeeting
The report contains links to the full presentations that were made to approximately 70 stakeholders at the Happisburgh meeting, references to the documented methods, offer of support and evidenced arguments for obtaining permission to conduct a pilot demonstration of the methods.
Many benefits are to be gained by all parties, e.g. Residents wouldn’t need to abandon homes and lose at least 60% of property values; Divisions between authorities & communities could be healed; We could conserve/improve landscape & habitats; Support national food security; Pilot a path to wider, sustainable growth…and begin to address the drought deluge cycle we are all witnessing at first hand in the UK.
With regards to issuing Happisburgh with an SSSI on the grounds of allowing land to erode away to expose sediment layers and fossils which encourages fossils to be mined, will inevitably increase erosion. This couldpossibly be contested through UK and European courts with an argument that if mining fossils is important and deemed necessary, then land should be purchased away from the cliffs to be quarried where it will not accelerate coastal erosion;and the spoil from the quarry could be used to landscape the existing cliffs. The Farmer who owns the landshould be very interested in selling some of it at a premium in the name of science.
We called Natural England to put this to them and they agreed that this particular SSSI did not sit well with the community but said that it was necessary for the science / geological aspects, although they agreed that fossil collection was not strictly a part of the SSSI and more a part of their own views.
We also explained the importance of restoring coastal vegetation to regulate weather patterns by moving the thermal barrier from the coastline that currently induces the two year drought cycles and thedeluge that often follows, inland. Adding if we see a pattern of 3 year drought cycles emerge in the future it will be game over for UK Farming in this region! If we were just looking at the U.K. we could not hope to change the global trend in climate change, but we could by example shine a light for others to follow and when more countries join this logical and feasible approach to combating climate change sustainably anything becomes possible. According to the UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon, we are running out of time: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sgsm13372.doc.htm
A statement of Natural England’s views about the management of Happisburgh Cliffs Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This statement sets out, in principle, our views on how the site’s special conservation interest can be conserved and enhanced.
Coastal geological sites form a very important part of England's geological resource for two reasons. Firstly, in many areas the only natural rock exposures are on the coast. Secondly, coastal cliffs often provide much better exposure of geological features than comparable inland sites. The key management principle for coastal geological sites is to maintain exposure of the geological interest by allowing natural processes to proceed freely. Inappropriate construction of coastal defences can completely conceal rock exposures and result in the effective loss of the geological interest. In addition, any development which prevents or slows natural erosion can have a damaging effect. Erosion is necessary to maintain fresh geological outcrops. Reducing the rate of erosion usually results in rock exposures becoming obscured by vegetation and rock debris.
Note, the Actual SSSI Description does not include fossil collection: This locality is important both for the cliff exposures which uniquely show three glacial deposits, the Cromer Tills (of Anglian age) with intercalated waterlain sediments, and for the underlying Cromer Forest-bed Formation, exposed in the foreshore, with excellent development of pre-Pastonion and Pastonian sediments. An important site for dating the Pleistocene succession of East Anglia with a range of sediments from marine to freshwater and glacial, spanning five stages, from the pre-Pastonian to the Anglian. http://www.sssi.naturalengland.org.uk/Special/sssi/vam/VAM%201001304.pdf
The grounds on which SSSI's are imposed are governed by advice from the joint nature conservation committee.
JNCC is a statutory adviser to UK Government and devolved administrations, mainly funded by DEFRA. We asked where we could the code of ethics that they work from with regards to SSSI's and hit a "No comment brick wall and a referal back to Natural England, stating they cannot comment on any particular location or any particular use of an SSSI.
We have opened discussion with the E.A. and given them supporting documentation for our approach. It appears from this that the Shore Line Management Plans are not set in stone and are in fact only grey areas under constant evolution. We were informed that the boulders placed at the foot of the cliffs in Happisburgh were considered as a soft approach and that gabions could be considered also as a soft approach. There were no objections to our proposals providing we can obtain the planning permission from NNDC. We called the planning office and spoke with Mrs Farichild, explaining our proposals. Mrs Fairchild who sounded very enthusiastic said we would need to fill out a planning application and this would cost £170.00
E.A. Doubts / concerns about weather / storms in our New Zealand coastal revegetation example being equal to the storms in the U.K. were addressed with relevent references and doubts about whether vegetated dune systems could be compared to steep cliffs in Happisburgh? This was a fair point, so we countered the argument stating that it is the sloped face of dunes that makes them very effective at countering storm surges and that if we slope the face of the cliffs we can work with the same proven forces to protect cliffs. After all a cliff is only a cliff when it is steep, when it is landscaped to a 30 degree angle it becomes a gentle incline. This inclined front now avoids the head on impact from waves, the slope adds gravitational drag, slowing down the wave and lowering it's height, but most of all the returning backwash travelling down the slope runs into the next incioming wave diffusing it's power and height before it hits the incline.
"Shoreline Management Plan for this area (SMP6) which you refer to below. I am pleased you have had a look at this, particularly the policy proposed for Policy Unit Ref. 6.12, which includes Happisburgh. You will see that although there is a long term intention to allow natural coastal retreat, it certainly does not rule out measures in the shorter term to minimise erosion. This is provided that any works carried out do not exacerbate erosion elsewhere by interrupting the transport of sand along the coast, or result in the development of the Happisburgh frontage as a promontory. You will be aware that NNDC have already tried to reduce erosion rates by building a rock bund."
Save Our Shores, Save The Planet
Why should we save England’s shores?
England’s getting smaller: Our coast is receding at up to 12 metres ayear! People’s homes, the tourist industry and prime agricultural land are being lost to the sea. Defence against erosion is seen as
unsustainable because of predicted sea-level rises.(The Government and their organisations want to let people’s land erode to feed sediment to beaches along the shore, to get at interesting fossils and, in one notable case, to avoid disturbing a colony of twenty small sea snails that might have been living nearby.) Source
Our apathetic outlook is playing into the hands of the people that try to take control of our lives. We need to take control back and decide for ourselves whether we do nothing to stop us falling flat on our face or weather we take whatever action is required to cushion our fall.
The derelict homes shown above have now all been demolished. How many more homes must we lose before we realise that we need to take action to slow down coastal erosion so that properties and land can once again realise stability and stable property market values.
CALL TO ACTION
Bryony Nierop-Reading and others are forming the “Save England- SOS Save Our Shores– Happisburgh Branch.” If you are interested in becoming a member of the new pro-active group, please let her know by phone/email and mention whether you would prefer the inaugural meeting totake place on a Saturday morning or weekday evening?
NNDC have placed 150 x cubic metre builders bags at the foot of the ramp to prevent erosion, effectively borrowing the idea from the meeting in Hapisburgh. "For the first time the high tide has not washed away the ramp"
Bryony Nierop-Reading always dreamed of having a sea view and she was well aware of local problems with coastal erosion when she purchased her dream house in Happisburgh, eastern England. She just did...
We need more S.O.S. Groups to be formed in your areas to Save Our Shores from neglect, floods and coastal erosion.
Pocket Full Of Acorns Call To Action
Photograph golden gage plum trees germinating in supermarket
carrier bag with soil and compost mixture.
Soon there will be seeds on the trees again as Autumn Draws near.
This is the time to plant trees and seeds and grow seeds on in pots to plant out at your convenience. If every single person in the UK planted one tree in their entire life, we would have at least 57 million trees. And when those trees that we plant self seed and scatter their own seeds or share them with walkers who care about where they put their feet on this fragile earth of ours that 60 million trees could easily be 10 fold or even 20 fold and more. All it takes is a little imagination and even the desolation on our huge swathes of eroding coastlines and moorland can become massive national forests. But this project is not limited to the United Kingdom. Imagine if this simple project were to be adopted by every country in the World. Perhaps we would all share the rainfall rather than some of us experiencing mudslides, others flooding and more and more countries experiencing drought disease and famine. Imagine an Ethiopian child sheltering from the rain while eating a freshly picked apple. Imagine a desert carpeted in bluebells under the shade of massive woodland and teaming with life. Alas the fact remains that more and more forests are destroyed, more and more concrete and tarmac creating mile after mile of black and grey manmade deserts patrolled by polluting vehicles and even more brick and block built deserts lived in by the two legged termites responsible for felling the forests.
It need not be like this. Nature needs a little help if she is ever going to address the most devastating attack this planet has ever seen.
Please help to plant more trees or at least plant a single tree in your entire lifetime.
Photograph: Our own Organic Garden Vegetables show what can be done with a little effort and imagination
The carrier bag being filled is the same sun bleached bag above.
Andrew K Fletcher
The role of coastal forests in the mitigation of tsunami impacts Keith Forbes and Jeremy Broadhead