Portrane coastal erosion even worse than feared – study

by Sylvia Pownall

Residents of The Burrow in Portrane say the long-awaited report on coastal erosion offers “too little, too late” in terms of finding a solution.

More than a dozen homes are at risk of being washed into the sea as chunks of the coastline are lost to storms because of advanced climate change.

A report published within the last week noted that up to 50 metres of coastline has been lost since 1970, and the deterioration has accelerated.

The council now intends to seek planning permission to install eight fishtail ‘groynes’ stretching 70m out to sea (above), and then build up the beach and dune area.

But one irate resident fumed: “We have been selected as a pilot for regular monitoring … this means they are going to do nothing to address the erosion, and simply use us to watch and see what happens, then draw up plans to address erosion elsewhere.”

Local Labour Party representative Corina Johnston visited the Burrow beach at the invitation of residents last week and said she was “shocked at the extent of the erosion in recent weeks”.

She added: “It is no wonder that householders and businesses are deeply concerned and worried for the future of their homes and properties … the residents are fearful for their homes at this stage.”

A 2019 study published last week shows that the situation is in fact far worse than previously thought. It notes rapid coastal erosion due to advanced climate change.

Up to 50 metres of land have been lost to the sea since 1970, with a shocking 750,000 cubic metres of sand lost along the dunes since 2014.

Cllr Adrian Henchy (FF) said: “While we accept that climate change is the root cause of this dramatic deterioration, this is no source of comfort to the residents who have seen large chunks of land disappear behind their properties and the sea getting closer by the day.”

A coastal erosion liaison committee heard from RPS consultants at a meeting last week regarding the options for addressing coastal erosion and flooding in the Rogerstown Estuary.

Experts said the concrete SeaBees would be extended northwards along Beach Lane and embankments, and walls would be installed on the estuary side of The Burrow.

Installation of the fishtail groynes may take longer as the council must apply for planning permission from An Bord Pleanala.

Cllr Paul Mulville (SocDem) said: “I know that that residents are angered and frightened at the slow pace of these works.

“However, I strongly believe it is necessary to continue with this process, through the Coastal Liaison Group, to ensure that the appropriate permanent coastal erosion and flooding works can be put in place.”

A public meeting for residents will be held in coming weeks so they can discuss the proposals with RPS engineers and council officials.

Related Articles