Talks help save lives in Skegness - and £millions

Skegness flood warden Coun Malcolm Gabbitas pictured on Skegness sea front where groynes could be planned. as part of the sea defence strategy. Photo: MSKP-040617-11 ANL-170506-123429001
Skegness flood warden Coun Malcolm Gabbitas pictured on Skegness sea front where groynes could be planned. as part of the sea defence strategy. Photo: MSKP-040617-11 ANL-170506-123429001
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Millions of pounds could be saved every year if an alternative to beach replenishment along the Skegness coast is agreed.

The Environment Agency (EA) has released feedback from a meeting of the Saltfleet to Gibraltar Point Strategy group after considering the options - and Skegness’ flood warden Coun Malcolm Gabbitas says one stands out as not only creating a natural sea defence but also potentially boosting tourinsm.

For the past few weeks visitors to the coast may have seen sand being dredged from the seabed and pumped onto the beach as part of the annual Lincshore replenishment scheme.

But according to Coun Gabbitas, this has cost £140 million over the past 20 years - with an additional annual cost to the ELDC of £10,000 to remove sand blown off the beach to promenades and streets.

Coun Gabbitas said: “This is far too expensive. If we had control structures along the coast it would mean a much more stable beach.”

The EA has been considering a number of options, including segmenting the coast and installing fishtail groynes. Coun Gabbitas said: “This would create bays and stop the sand from erroding naturally. It would need government funding but would be worth it in the long run.

“Not only would it stop the costly need for replenishing the beaches, the groynes would form natural bays with the possibilty of creating marinas that could boost tourism.

“You can’t fight nature - you have to work with it. It’s only taken the EA 20 years to realise that.”

A spokesman for the EA said: “We are hoping to organise further workshops in July when several options for future flood protection are going to be discussed. We are looking to go to full public consultation at a later stage.

“We are expecting to finish the dredging work for this year’s Lincshore Scheme on Friday, subject to weather conditions. A team will then take approximately two weeks to clear up the site.”

SIGN UP TO MOBILE FLOOD ALERTS

Only 18 per cent of residents along the east coast have signed up to getting flood alerts on their mobile phones, in spite of the threat which had soldiers and police knocking on doors to give warnings in February.

The shocking statistic was revealed by the Environment Agency’s Michelle Scott when she gave a report to Skegness Town Council on the work of the EA to keep residents and visitors safe.

She told councillors and members of the public: “You can all help by signing up for alerts and looking after your neighbours if there is a warning.”

To sign up for flood warnings by phone, email or text message if your home or business is at risk of flooding, visit the Environment Agency website at www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings