Scientists Investigate Scilly Beach Erosion

coast survey teamA group of scientists from the Plymouth Coastal Observatory will return to Scilly later this month to monitor any changes in our coastline.

They’re part of the South West Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme and provide data for the Environment Agency and the Council.

Their information is also made available to conservationists, academics and the general public.

Last year when the group studied our coast, they found that the Valentine’s Day storms had made the greatest impact to our beaches since they started the surveys here in 2008.

This year they’ll focus on Bar Point and also survey Rushy Bay on Bryher, where a great deal of sand has been moving around.

Emerald Siggery says they’ll be looking particularly closely at the dunes on the southern face of Tresco too, following the storms last year, and checking for any recovery or further losses.

Emerald says she doesn’t think it’s a cause for concern but it’s something they “want to keep an eye on.”

Scilly is exposed to the effects of the sea and the weather, probably more so than anywhere on the mainland.

The group survey the entire Westcountry and luckily Scilly hasn’t seen a great deal of movement.

Emerald says there have been small changes but on the whole, our shoreline has been “steady” over the years that they’ve been measuring.

The group of scientists is instantly recognisable as they wander the shorelines and beaches in their yellow, high-vis clothing and with backpacks loaded with sensitive GPS equipment.

It beams data to a base station on Telegraph Tower on St Mary’s and lets them make measurements accurate to within 30mm.

And Emerald says as long as they aren’t rushing around trying to beat the tide, the team are very happy to chat to members of the public about what they’re doing.

You’ll also have a chance to meet Emerald and her colleagues at The Atlantic from 7pm on Tuesday 1st September if you who want to find out more about their work.