Glass Sidmouth sea barrier survives Storm Dennis ‘bar two small chips’

A trial glass splash barrier on Sidmouth seafront has survived the second major storm in the space of a week – bar two small chips. 

The pane withstood a hammering from Storm Dennis on Saturday and Sunday, having escaped Storm Ciara unscathed seven days earlier.

An East Devon District Council (EDDC) spokesperson said this morning: “Our glass splash defence test panel at Sidmouth has now survived two major storms: Ciara and Dennis.

“We’ll continue to monitor its effectiveness but so far, bar two very small chips, it has been undamaged.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes added: “Dennis was one of the most powerful storms recorded and the glass panel has taken a vigorous test … remember if used it won’t be near the railings and sea wall edge.”

Sidmouth is the first place in the UK to trial a glass flood shield next to a shingle beach.

District council bosses are testing whether sections of a raised seafront wall can be made of glass.

The one-metre-high structure that would span The Esplanade could also feature gates, drop-down doors, seating and planting.

The glass sea wall on Sidmouth seafront during Storm Dennis. Image: Daniel Clark

Sidmouth seafront during Storm Dennis. Image: Daniel Clark

Sidmouth seafront. Picture: Simon Horn LRPS

Sidmouth seafront during Storm Dennis. Picture: Simon Horn LRPS

The £8.9milion preferred beach management scheme option – backed by experts – involves a new rock groyne on East Beach and raising the height of the seafront splash wall.

Shingle replenishment and periodic beach recycling – moving sand or pebbles from the sea bed to the beach – are also proposed, along with repairs to the River Sid training wall.

Councillor Geoff Jung, chairman of the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan Steering Group, told after Storm Ciara: “The location was chosen to receive the maximum impact from the sea and pebbles.

“However, the splash barrier, if the trial proves it to be effective, is intended to be located between the highway and promenade, to a maximum of one-metre-high from the promenade floor level.

“We understand the local concerns regarding a raised splash barrier, but recent government analysis for sea level rises confirm earlier studies that a raised barrier is a pre-requisite for the full Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan, and for the scheme to be effective looking to the future.

“We are required, within the plan, to provide protection to reduce the east cliff erosion, protect the seafront from storm damage and reduce the risk of flooding to properties in the town by the sea overtopping.

“We are considering every possible way of reducing the visual impact, but at the same time providing the protection required to protect residents and businesses in the town of Sidmouth.

“Fitting glass sections, plus other possible initiatives will all be considered, prior to a public event (date to be confirmed) when all the options will be explained and consulted upon.

“This seafront location trial will allow us to analyse if glass sections can be used in a location such as Sidmouth.”

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Wild weather as Storm Dennis hits Sidmouth and East Devon

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