Agenda Item No. 7

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 2 February, 2016


Report of the Director of Environment and Housing


Coastal Monitoring Update, Vale of Glamorgan Coastline


Purpose of the Report

  1. To report progress on the monitoring of the Vale of Glamorgan coastline.


  1. That the contents of this report be noted.

Reason for the Recommendation

  1. To keep Members apprised of the current situation regarding coastal monitoring along the Vale coastline.


  1. This report is provided in response to a resolution by Cabinet (Minute C2385) following a report on Sand Loss and Coastal Monitoring to the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment).
  2. The Vale of Glamorgan Council is defined as a Coastal Erosion Risk Management Authority under the Coast Protection Act 1949, as amended by Schedule 2 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, and is under no obligation to construct defences to prevent coastal erosion but has permissive powers to do so if it is deemed necessary.
  3. The Vale of Glamorgan coastline, from Lavernock Point to the mouth of the River Ogmore, is covered by the Lavernock Point to St. Ann's Head Shoreline Management Plan (SMP), produced by the Swansea and Carmarthen Bay Coastal Engineering Group and which was adopted on 6th November 2012 (Minute No C1923).
  4. The Vale of Glamorgan coastline, from Lavernock Point to Penarth Head, is covered by the Severn Estuary Shoreline Management Plan (SMP), produced by the Severn Estuary Coastal Group and which was adopted on 17th November 2010 (Minute No C1125).
  5. Both SMPs contain actions to put in place a monitoring programme of erosion rates and beach levels around the Vale coastline.
  6. Monitoring of coastal erosion is managed at three different scales in Wales. At a national level the Welsh Coastal Monitoring Centre, currently co-ordinated by Gwynedd Council, is leading in the development of a programme of ongoing monitoring funded by Welsh Government. Welsh Government is currently considering the future mechanism for provision of the Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre (WCMC) function and the framework for procuring national scale datasets. At a regional scale the coastal groups co-ordinate the collection of data on behalf of the member local authorities, partially funded by Welsh Government. At a local scale individual maritime local authorities will need to develop monitoring in key areas or on a scheme specific basis, aiding in the delivery of duties as a Risk Management Authority.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Vale's beaches range from cobble sized material through to sand. Different monitoring techniques are available to suit the different beach morphologies and site specific monitoring will be required to establish the status and vulnerability of beaches to future change in key areas. A technical report will be produced identifying these areas and the proposed monitoring regime in conjunction with the WCMC, or successor organisation, once a resolution is reached by Welsh Government on delivery of this function in Wales. In the interim, the Swansea & Carmarthen Bay Coastal Engineering Group, currently chaired by the Vale of Glamorgan Council, will continue to co-ordinate strategic coastal monitoring for the region. The Flood and Coastal Risk Management Team will also continue to undertake additional monitoring at key locations around the Vale coastline to inform ongoing or proposed schemes.
  2. Natural Resources Wales are currently procuring a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) flight of the coastline which could be potentially impacted by the proposed tidal lagoon schemes in the Severn Estuary. The flight is due for completion in Spring 2016 and, following consultation with Council officers, NRW are endeavouring to extend the coverage along the entire Vale coastline. This dataset will provide a comprehensive baseline against which to compare future changes in the coastline.
  3. The Swansea and Carmarthen Bay Coastal Engineering Group is currently commissioning the Spring 2016 strategic profile survey, including profiles at 25 locations around the Vale coastline. Collation and validation of this dataset will be undertaken by Vale officers, pending confirmation of the future of the WCMC.
  4. The Council now has in-house capability to undertake coastal surveys, including laser scanning and GPS surveys, enabling the targeted collection of data at key locations and at short notice. The latter is essential when trying to measure short-term responses to storms and the potential impact on existing coastal defences.
  5. A terrestrial laser scan topographic survey of Whitmore and Jackson Bays were undertaken on behalf of the Council in April 2014 following the severe winter storms early in the year. A further topographic survey was undertaken in Spring 2015 and an initial assessment of the results indicates beach levels have recovered since the 2013/14 winter storms. A further survey will be undertaken in Spring 2016 to enable further assessment of the movement in beach levels and general volume of material present in Whitmore Bay. Beach levels in Whitmore Bay, as established via profile measurements collected in January 2016, are currently low on the upper beach as would be expected during the winter months. Regular monitoring of key profiles will be undertaken over the coming months to establish the range of normal beach level variations.
  6. Additional coastal surveys have also been undertaken at Cwm Col-Huw, Penarth, Rhoose Point and Swanbridge in 2015. These surveys will provide a baseline against which to assess the future behaviour of beach levels and improve our understanding of the sediment dynamics in these areas. The surveys also capture data on the coastal defences and adjacent cliffs to inform the ongoing management of erosion and wave overtopping at these key sites.
  7. Further monitoring of the cliffs around Penarth headland and Rhoose Point are planned for Spring 2016.
  8. Council officers are working to establish a wave and water level gauge at Penarth Pier in Spring 2016 to support the development of coastal risk management schemes in the area, and to act as a publically available resource for those living, working or enjoying the Vale coastline.
  9. Council officers will continue to work with all other relevant organisations, including Risk Management Authorities and Welsh Government, to deliver the actions identified in the SMPs and manage the risk of flooding and coastal erosion within the Vale.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Beach profile monitoring will continue to be funded via the council's annual subscription fees to the Swansea and Carmarthen Bay Coastal Engineering Group.
  2. The cost of providing additional beach level surveys will need to be met from existing budgets and the Environment and Sustainable Development Single Revenue Grant.
  3. The cost of establishing the Penarth wave and tide gauge will be met from existing capital provisions for Flood and Coastal Risk Management, with ongoing maintenance costs met from existing budgets and the Environment and Sustainable Development Single Revenue Grant.
  4. The Welsh Coastal Monitoring Centre and Natural Resources Wales will co-ordinate future large-scale coastal monitoring nationally with funding provided by Welsh Government.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The proposed monitoring will provide a baseline against which to assess future Climate Change implications, aiding in the delivery of the Council's obligations under the Well-being of Future Generations Act,

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There are no Legal or Human Rights Implications in respect of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no Crime and Disorder Implications in respect of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no Equal Opportunity Implications or Welsh Language Issues in respect of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. To protect and enhance the Vale's natural and built environment.
  2. To ensure current and future generations of Vale residents and visitors enjoy the built and natural environment and actively protect and maintain them.
  3. To manage the effects of climate change on the built and natural environment.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This matter is within the Policy Framework and Budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. No Ward Member consultation undertaken as the issue is Vale wide.

Background Papers

The Severn Estuary Shoreline Management Plan

Lavernock Point and St. Ann's Head Shoreline Management Plan

Contact Officer

Clive Moon, Principal Engineer (Flood and Coastal Risk Management)

Tel. No. 02920 673 277

Officers Consulted

Committee Report

Accountant - Environment and Housing Services

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter Director of Environment and Housing