Deputy rejects claim Alderney breakwater in danger of failure

ALDERNEY breakwater is ‘in imminent danger of a major structural failure’, according to an island resident who has written a letter to all deputies urging them to take action.

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Michael Maunder said that decisions on the breakwater ‘cannot be put off any longer’ and alleges that all the work that has been done on it since it came under States of Guernsey management has been ‘quick-fix’ maintenance.

But his claim has been denied by Environment & Infrastructure, under whose mandate it falls.

Mr Maunder said the breakwater is not Alderney’s, but belongs to the UK Admiralty.

The States took over maintenance of the breakwater from the UK in 1987 after the Bailiwick was asked to make a contribution to the UK’s defence budget.

Mr Maunder alleges that attribution to Alderney’s account could be described as ‘creative accounting’, but could almost be described as ‘fraudulent’. Either way, it was incorrect, he wrote.

It would cost about the same as the ‘missing sums’ of money to bring the breakwater back to a stable condition.

He provided evidence to back his claims, although previously he said when the question had been raised ‘the response is to ignore, belittle or present bogus science’.

Environment & Infrastructure has the obligation to maintain the breakwater, and its president, Barry Brehaut, said: ‘The breakwater is not in imminent risk of collapse.

‘E&I carry out extensive surveys, repairs and assessments on an ongoing basis and we are committed to doing so.’

Comments for: "Deputy rejects claim Alderney breakwater in danger of failure"

MangeTout

Why does the breakwater need to be that long??

Honest question as I don't know the reason.......

NickiDo

Think the original plan was to house naval ships behind it, probably never needed to be that long but lots has settled behind it now, not sure what would happen if they tried to shorten it now...

Devil's Advocate

The original plan was to make Alderney the 'Gibraltar' of the channel when the French massively increased the size and power of Cherbourg harbour. This worried the British government massively, so Alderney was consequently heavily fortified. When the breakwater was finished it was about twice as long as it is now, however the outer half was in deeper, more exposed water and holes were made in the structure often enough that it was abandoned. It now exists as a shallow reef which provides some wave-breaking action.

The problem with the breakwater is that it's literally a wall built on a pile of dumped stone, and the sea is powerful enough to wear away at the rubble base, de-stabilise the wall, and make holes in it. I believe some of the problems stem from cost-cutting either during building or maintenance - the stones used for the rubble base should weigh at least 3 tonnes, yet smaller stuff has been used. This is easy moved by the sea. I think there has been some grout injecting done to consolidate the wall and possibly mound.

Biscay

Don't worry folks Barry brehaut says the breakwater is ok after all he knows what he's talking about that man.

Cher Eugene

"Environment & Infrastructure has the obligation to maintain the breakwater, and its president, Barry Brehaut, said: ‘The breakwater is not in imminent risk of collapse'"

Well, he would say that, wouldn't he. How does he know, he's not an expert on breakwaters, not even a beginner and I suspect this applies to the CS in his department as well. Has he, or any of his staff walked the length of the breakwater, both sides., at low tides to closely examine the integrity of the visible parts and donned diving gear to inspect the parts of the structure and its foundations that remain underwater. I thought not.