CONCERNS have been raised over the current low levels of sand at Teignmouth beach.
Sand movement along the coast has been an ongoing discussion among residents and scientists for decades.
Recent shifts in levels, particularly between the Lighthouse and the Point, have raised more questions however, it has been pointed out that the beach is mercy of the environment and sand levels rise and fall naturally.
Teignmouth councillor David Cox said they were between a ‘rock and a hard place’ tackling the issue.
Teignbridge Council has set up a Teignmouth Beach Management Plan with the aim of protecting the area for the next 20 to 30 years.
A study carried out last year by Plymouth University found the vertical variability of the beach was half a metre between its lowest and highest points. Dredging the River Teign estuary, carried out to maintain access to shipping, has been blamed for the fluctuating beach levels.
Teignmouth resident Trevor Jackon, who has lived locally for almost 90 years, says it is ‘sad’ to see the beach in its present state.
He said: ‘I think it is too easy to blame the dredging as the dredger only deals with beach material after it has been deposited into the shipping channel. With the very best intentions the sea defences which have been installed over recent years, ie the groins, are only effective when they are maintained and form a complete barrier for the sand to build up to, but the cost of maintaining them is a problem.
‘Next the latest concrete extensions and wide shelf from the Lighthouse extending to the point end of the car park and the concrete steps extending towards the pier have had a lot to do with the erosion of the beach.
‘In certain conditions the beach can be eroded or built up naturally but extending the sea defences further seaward has in my opinion had a detrimental effect on the stability of a once marvellous beach.’
Cllr Cox says even when sand has been deliberately moved to bulk up the beach, within days it had been washed away.
He said: ‘It needs a serious study but when sand disappears from the beach, it tends to come back in a few days.
‘We are dealing with nature and the sea will sometimes win, it is a very powerful thing.’
The issue has divided opinions but there are concerns that more sand has disappeared over the last year particularly.