‘Managed Retreat’ Likely From Land Being Eroded At Porthcressa

erosion porthcressa allotmentsThe Council’s climate change officer has said there is likely to be a “managed retreat” from land being eroded at the eastern side of Porthcressa.

David Senior told attendees at yesterday’s AONB advisory group meeting that erosion of the bank below the allotments has accelerated this winter with another recent fall of earth in the last two weeks.

The land has been retreating for some years and the coastal footpath has already been rerouted several times to avoid the area.

He’ll be monitoring the area with photos on a regular basis but says the Environment Agency will only fund expensive repair work that shows a “significant return on investment,” meaning houses or businesses must be at threat, which is not the case at this site.

He said some funding is being made available for repairs to the western Porthcressa sea wall under the Garrison. The wall is damaged and the pointing needs repairs. This is being looked on favourably by the Environment Agency because of the work already completed on Porthcressa, which has strengthened the sea defences there.

David said his department is hoping to get “quality scientific data” to identify other areas where the flood defences need improving or maintaining.

Earlier work on flood inundation mapping, started by the Duchy of Cornwall, can now be improved using the latest techniques that map the sea floor.

This will help to understand more accurately how far water might travel inland and could be linked to surface water flooding, said David.

That’s an area that’s causing increasing concern on the islands following several incidents late last year, including a flood at Porthmellon that narrowly avoided damage to properties and the electricity substation.

But David also expressed concern that decisions about which flood defence areas need attention are down to discussions between himself, the council’s engineer and the Technical Services department.

He wants to see a steering group set up that can identify and prioritise areas for flood defence work.