Commons Council has coastal path loss fears

EROSION between Fort Le Marchant and Fort Doyle in the Vale has reached a critical stage, the Vale Commons Council has said. It is calling on the States department responsible to address the problem immediately.

Vale Commons Council vice-president Rosemary Henry on the path between Fort Doyle and Fort Le Marchant which is in danger of disappearing into the sea.  (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30383008)
Vale Commons Council vice-president Rosemary Henry on the path between Fort Doyle and Fort Le Marchant which is in danger of disappearing into the sea. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30383008)

But this is not the first time that the Commons Council has raised the issue, and vice-president Rosemary Henry said it has been asking for something to be done for more than 17 years.

‘At La Fontenelle the coastal path was some 13 metres from the top of the beach, it is now only inches away and will be taken by the sea in the near future with the winter storms,’ said Miss Henry.

The council met Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services and came away with the impression that the plan was to place gabions (rectangular modular wire mesh containers filled with stone or rock) in the area, but Miss Henry said that this idea appeared to have been abandoned.

ACLMS said that after looking at the idea, gabions and rock armour were not considered a suitable option due to the cost, which was potentially six figures, as well as the rising sea levels and the increased frequency of severe storms due to climate change.

It suggested moving the path inland, which would require the permission of the land owner.

‘This did not develop into a viable option after private landowners were consulted,’ an ACLMS spokesman said.

‘While this area of common is not one of the highest priority coastal areas to protect, we

are continuing to look at how best to resolve this eroding coastal footpath.

‘We are now investigating cost-effective alternative solutions.’

Miss Henry said that other areas along this stretch of coast had eroded to the extent that about 15m of the common’s sub-soil was visible on the beach

‘With each winter storm more land succumbs to the sea. Neither the council or the public wish to see part of the island’s beautiful walkways vanish.

‘All the council asks is for a proactive response to a problem the States department has been made aware of for more than 17 years.’

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