Third coastal study to cost £245,000

ALMOST a quarter of a million pounds is being spent on a study to protect the coastline - even though three have already being carried out.

The cabinet at Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) is expected to give the go-ahead for the Whitby Coastal Strategy 2 when it meets today but it would be at least a year before any workmen are on site.

It will be funded by the Environment Agency and then further reports are expected to cost a further £79,000 before any actual works starts.

A council report says the Whitby Coastal Strategy 2 - which covers 5km of coastline from Sandsend to Abbey Cliff - will “build on the knowledge and outcomes derived in the original Strategy”, “fill gaps in knowledge” and “allow a prioritised programme of PARs [project appraisal reports] to be developed”.

The Environment Agency money will also be paying for staff salaries and costs, consultants fees, an environmental appraisal, ground investigation and surveys and computer modelling among other costs.

According to timescales published in the council report a mini tendering exercise will take place over the coming weeks, consultants will be appointed in May, the strategy will be started in June and the results presented to Cabinet in February next year.

Another final report will be undertaken in March 2012, presented to Cabinet the following month and actions thereafter will be “reported as necessary”.

The original Whitby Coastal Strategy was completed in 2002 and identified the main issues were Whitby harbour piers, recession of protected cliffs, flooding of properties along the River Esk estuary and Whitby Harbour quays.

Schemes to manage the issues were drawn up but didn’t proceed due to limited resources, the Castle headland scheme being a priority for the council and changes in government procedures.

The issue was revisited in 2007 when emergency work was done to the East pier and more investigations were done at Whitby harbour in 2008/09.

SBC has decided to undertake the Whitby Coastal Strategy 2 because those works revealed that over 350 properties near the River Esk estuary were at risk from sea flooding and over 400 close to the harbour were at risk from coastal erosion over the next 100 years.

Coun Joe Plant said: “It looks to the public eye a waste of money but in fact it is the ground work first. They have to have knowledge of everything to understand how to go forward.”