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Coastal protection drainage trial in Barton-on-Sea given go-ahead

We have been awarded a £200,000 Environment Agency (EA) grant for a trial drainage system at Barton on Sea to test how groundwater levels can be managed to reduce the risk of cliff instability.

When groundwater levels are high in the cliffs at Barton-on-Sea, instability and landslides can occur, leading to loss of the cliff. This trial will test how groundwater, the water found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock, can be managed.

Using the latest drilling technology, the drainage trial will see a long section of perforated pipe installed downwards from the cliff-top. The pipe will extend to the bottom of the cliff. Along the way the pipe will pass horizontally between specific layers of underlying rock in order to intercept and drain some of the groundwater.  

Our Coastal Team say that the trial is important as it will inform options for a future full scale drainage scheme at Barton-on-Sea, where the historical rate of erosion is estimated to be around 1m per year.  

Cllr Alison Hoare, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said "We are pleased to be awarded the funding to carry out this trial, following the recent ground investigations by the Coastal Team, which showed that this type of groundwater management system was the preferred way forward. This important trial will tell us if this is a suitable approach and inform our coastal protection work going forwards."

The £200k drainage trial is due to be installed this autumn, with a year of monitoring to assess how groundwater levels respond and whether there is any impact to the environmentally designated lower cliff areas.  

Cllr Geoffrey Blunden, Ward Councillor, said. "This is an important step forward in the ongoing battle to stabilise the cliffs at Barton on Sea and to reduce the rates of erosion. I very much hope this trial is a success and can lead to a major drainage and cliff stabilisation scheme. Enabling a greater level of protection to the properties and land along this great coastal frontage."

Published: 12 Mar 2019
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