Thursday 22 June 2017
Pre-Occupation aerial photos of L'Ancresse Bay, when the dune landscape behind the sandy beach at acted as a natural coastal defence, have been made available by the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure.
The Committee has also today published photographic representations of how the realigned bay could look once the natural restoration was complete following removal of 200m of the concrete Second World War anti-tank wall.
Attendees at recently held public meetings to discuss proposals for the future of the wall, which is in a poor condition and cannot be left to fail, were shown the images to further explain how the plans are seeking to restore a section of the coastline at the eastern end of L'Ancresse Bay back to its original sand dune-backed state.
Deputy Barry Brehaut, President of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said:
'The pre-Occupation images really highlight what we are seeking to achieve. Aerial photographs of the area in 1933 clearly show the line of the dunes at L'Ancresse East and the pathways leading to the beach. An RAF aerial photograph taken in 1942 shows Vale Common and the line of the dunes together with some of the defensive works being built by the occupying forces.
'The photographic representations of how the realigned bay could look once the work has been completed highlight a return to its natural environment.
'While I can understand that some in our community may have an affinity to the wall, as it has been present their whole life, it must be remembered that it was not erected as a sea defence. It does not protect the area from flooding; it was designed to protect the Germans from tanks.'
The photographic representations show a much higher sand level on the beach than is present currently. This is because there will be no vertical wall to deflect the sand deposits at every high tide and sand will naturally be deposited and build as it does elsewhere around the coast. The line of the dune behind the beach would be managed, as it is at Port Soif and Grande Rocques, with chestnut paling and dune grasses and plants to stabilise the sand area. The grassed footpath people use in front (north) of the Martello tower would remain.
No evidence exists of coastal flooding in the area prior to the Occupation. The East L'Ancresse wall does not provide any greater flood protection than is naturally present due to the lie of the land in the area.
Deputy Brehaut said:
'As we've said previously, doing nothing is not an option. The wall is failing and abandoning it to nature would be a dangerous and irresponsible approach, as the collapse of the wall would be unpredictable. We have examined other options like reinforcing the wall with rock armour, which would have been nearly twice the cost of the proposed way forward with the risk of substantial and unpredictable costs as the years went on, and the Committee has concluded that the planned realignment,by comparison, is a predictable and precautionary approach.'
The images, and a PDF of the presentation delivered at the public meetings earlier this month, can be viewed at www.gov.gg\lancresse