Safeguarding Welsh Beaches
Welsh beaches are under serious threat from
climate change and sea level rise. Global warming has brought about
a rise in sea levels of around 3mm each year since 1992.
Are we taking Welsh beaches for granted?
According to reports from the Marine Climate Change Impact
Partnership, 23 per cent of the Welsh coastline is already
suffering from erosion, with only 20 per cent protected by man-made
structures. Over time, this means that beaches may become narrower,
with a smaller area or even no beach available at high tide.
Welsh beaches are an important visitor and tourist attraction.
Visit Wales estimates that almost half the jobs in the coastal and
marine environment are tourism related. Welsh beaches also provide
and protect important coastal habitat for a range of wildlife, and
play a vital role in coastal defence, protecting coastal
communities and infrastructure by reducing the energy of waves.
Unless measures are taken to maintain the beaches over the next
ten to 20 years, their effectiveness as tourism, coastal defence
and conservation assets will be considerably reduced.
The Beach Nourishment Project
A series of studies commissioned by The Countryside Council for
Wales (CCW) has looked at ways of protecting this valuable resource
by placing additional sand or shingle on existing beaches through a
process termed beach nourishment or replenishment. In doing so, the
important social, environmental and economic functions that Welsh
beaches provide could be maintained and potentially even
The study was funded by the Aggregate Levy Fund for Wales, The
Crown Estate, the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association
and CCW, with key data contributions from Environment Agency Wales.
These partners, along with Welsh Government formed the steering
group for the project.
The project represents an initial pilot and feasibility study,
and includes a number of recommendations for further work.
The study has clearly demonstrated that Welsh beaches are highly
valued by a wide range of stakeholders. It is also clear that beach
nourishment is a tool that could be used more to help to safeguard
or enhance this resource in the future.
The Steering Group would like to thank everyone who has
contributed to this project, including those who attended the
workshops, and we would welcome any further comments or
suggestions, which would help to inform next steps.
If you would like further information about this project please
contact Nicola Rimington, Ceri Seaton or Emmer Litt.