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West Cumbria is taking coastal erosion on the chin

Written by on July 10, 2020

From our reporter JASON RUSHWORTH

Storms such as Dennis, Gertrude and Ciara have taken their toll on Walney Island in recent years. However, not all storms are bad. The fantastic nature reserves such as Ravenglass and Eskmeals have survived quite well by almost embracing the natural shifting sands that these storms create. Further up the road, the Seascale Sea defences are taking spring tides in their stride with St Bees head taking them squarely on the nose. Further up the coast, however, work has now completed at Parton which means our trains from Barrow to Carlisle can now run at normal speed again today. 

One of our MPS – Simon Fell for Barrow, has raised concerns in Parliament this morning about the impact of coastal erosion on Walney Island and the Walney channel. Global research published by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission in March 2020 shows Barrow-in-Furness as one of the hardest-hit areas in the UK for beach erosion with five times the amount of the national average. 

Historically in England, there has been a general trend for erosion on the west coast of our nation but growing levels of shingle and sand at the north and south of Walney Island continue. the good news is flood and erosion defences have been put in place at various locations to manage the probability of flooding and erosion, dating back to the 1930s, sections of the shoreline along our coast still remain in place, but undefended. 

 The longer-term data shows that there has been little change in our clifftop position south of Sea Mill beach car park, however, there has been slight to small weathering of the face and toe of St Bees Head, which will eventually lead to very slight recession of the cliff top, but the good news is changing to the clifftop positions are unlikely to be dramatic in the short term. 

The ongoing and future funding and maintenance of our coastal defence provision is currently the responsibility of Network Rail. Today Cumbria County Council has printed a full report into the current condition of our coastline on this link…

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