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Wirral beach boost plan on the brink
THE fate of an ambitious scheme to boost beach levels between New Brighton and Seacombe should be known later this month.
Natural England visited Wirral a few days ago to study modified plans for Egremont foreshore put forward by John Lamb who masterminded a beach nourishment scheme at New Brighton more than 25 years ago.
His original vision for Egremont involved the diversion of dredged sand destined for deep waters in the Irish Sea.
The initiative threw up a series of environmental and technical obstacles, forcing John to come up with alternative plans involving the creation of ‘pocket’ beaches and ‘roosting boulders for the benefit of wild birds.
Natural England insisted that the only way to justify replenishment of the beach was to improve wild life habitat.
Three members of Natural England accompanied John on a site visit to Egremont along with local members of Cheshire Wildlife Trust and the RSPB.
John, a 50year-old teacher from Liverpool, said: "I provided evidence that turnstones (wild birds) use the existing sand beach at Manor Lane and this can be improved with sand replenishment by dredger.
"Strategic placement of 'roosting boulders' on the existing groyne would provide undisturbed roosting areas on spring tides.
"The new sandstone rock field on the lower shore would be quickly colonised by barnacles on which turnstones can feed."
Natural England will study the modified plans and give their judgement later this month.
John pointed out that an EU directive last year laid down that marine conservation must not be looked at in isolation, but include the needs of adjacent communities and local initiatives.
He said: "If the Natural England advice is negative then I will not proceeds with these ideas further.
"If positive then it will be up to Wirral Council, as the 'competent authority', to become actively involved in any scheme.
"Ultimately the hope is to create more sandstone rock fields offshore and, as the remaining rocks get covered in sand, beautiful sand beaches against the sea wall – massively benefitting both wildlife and people."
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