After press covered the story of Storm Eleanor recently ripping off 49ft of land from behind the UK’s oldest Golf Course, the Royal North Devon Golf Club in Westward Ho!, other issues have come to light.
Manager of the club, Mark Evans, points out that: “Until the year 2000 the pebble ridge, which holds back the higher tides from flooding the Burrows park and landfill site, was replenished annually ridge.
“However, this was stopped by Natural England who, in 1987 registered the land as an SSSI.
“Since that time the pebble ridge has been breached by the sea in many places. If this continues the risk of the sea releasing the toxic landfill bordering the Golf course increases, putting the landfill and our blue flag beaches and wider coastline at risk.
“The January 31st full moon coincides with a very high tide that night but so far no authority has provided a solution or been seen to be preparing any defence against the coming high seas.
“In fact management of the park and beach by former custodians Northam Urban Council was so effective that it prompted the award of the blue flag accolade.
“The main reasons for this were the pebble ridge, great sea rushes, sand dunes and a plant called a water germander.
“But after 31 years with Natural England in charge, 50% of the sand dunes have gone, the pebble ridge is in a state of disrepair, the great sea rushes have been taken over by brambles or scraped back to nothing and only seven water germander plants remain. Not a good record!
“Should it be downgraded and left to the locals to once again maintain this site?
“That’s the problem with having a non-elected, non-accountable quango in charge of something they don’t understand how this all works on a local basis.”
Two local Councillors agree and even created a video to get their point across. Torridge District Councillor Nick Laws (Ind) has teamed up with Devon County Councillor Andrew Eastman (Con) to set the example of working together towards a common goal in the public interest.
Both Andrew Eastman and Nick Laws said: “To do nothing about this is to invite disaster.”
Alex Gibson, chairman of the River Taw Fisheries Association, said he thinks that both local MPs should be concerned and involved. The two are Peter Heaton-Jones, MP for North Devon and Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge & West Devon.
The UK has more than 21,000 historic landfills scattered across the country. 2,946 of these, according to analysis by the British Geological Survey (BGS), are located in flood plains.
What’s more, the vast majority were built with no coastal, riverbank or estuarine defences to protect their banks from eroding. 1,264 sites are located in coastal areas and estuaries and face the most serious risk from higher tides and storm surges.
(from a press release)
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