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Poole Bay nearshore beach renourishment trial

Borough of Poole has been awarded £130,000 to carry out a trial investigating whether beach renourishment can be made more sustainable into the future in Poole Bay.

The trial, starting on Monday 9 February for up to five days, will investigate whether small amounts of sand placed on the sea bed close to the shore, between Flaghead Chine and Canford Cliffs, will be moved by natural wave forces onto the beach.

The aim is to trickle feed smaller amounts of sand, onto the beach more frequently to stabilise its width and establish whether this provides a more economical solution to Poole’s traditional beach renourishment scheme. The sand will be provided by Poole Harbour Commissioners from maintenance dredging from the main channel inside Poole Harbour.

Funding has been provided by the Environment Agency who have awarded a grant of £130,000 for the placing of the sand and a further £115,000 from their National Research and Development fund. In addition, SCOPAC (Standing Conference on Projects Associated with the Coastline) are supporting the research and monitoring with a £15,000 grant. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has provided the licence to allow the placing of sand in the sea.

Councillor Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Borough of Poole, said: "This is a very exciting and innovative project which embraces partnership working. It’s a one-off trial – the first of its kind in the UK, but follows a huge amount of exploration as to what works in other countries. We have looked at the pros and cons and believe it could become of national and international importance, influencing how relevant coastal authorities protect property and infrastructure into the future."

The trial will be considered successful if it is determined that there is little to no effect on Poole Rocks MCZ (Marine Conservation Zone) and an understanding of the relative costs of nearshore renourishment compared to conventional methods has been gained.

The trial follows Poole’s conventional beach renourishment scheme (pumping sand ashore and spreading it by land based plant) carried out in November and December 2014, at a cost of £1.9 million, awarded by DEFRA.

Danish dredging company Rohde Nielsen will once again be working with Borough of Poole, using the Magni-R dredger used for the sand replenishment scheme.