Call for action as high tides leave trail of rubbish along Skegness area coast
At the beginning of the month, flood warden Malcolm Gabittas was the first to warn of the strength of these autumn tides - reaching more than seven metres only this weekend - when expressing flooding fears in connection with plans for the holiday season to be extended .
Normally high tides with such power are expended in the spring, such as two years ago when the Beast from the East saw waves over-topping along promenades from Skegness to north of Chapel St Leonards, dumping sand in front of the entrances to businesses and across walkways.
However, this time tons of sand have been stripped away from beaches - with the waves leaving behind massive rocks, boulders thought to be from old sea defences and piles of rubbish.
One dog walker at Winthorpe said he had never seen anything like it. "It looks like a scene from a ski-fi movie," he said.
But for others further up the coast, it was the cost to the environment that was the concern.
Former town councillor John Byford said he was horrified to see how much rubbish the tides had left behind and called for a 'socially distanced' community litter pick to take place.
"People must start taking more care of the environment," he said. "The waves may look impressive but there is a lesson to be learnt here.
"We cannot control Mother Nature and what these high tides have done is highlight the amount of rubbish which is being left on our beaches.
"When I took my dog for a walk it looked as if I was walking onto a rubbish tip.
"It's so sad to see that amount of rubbish - people need to listen to nature. We have to turn the tide."
Another dog walker, Carolyn Smith, was so horrified at the amount of litter she did a litter pick.
She said: " I noticed the rubbish when I went to the beach on Saturday with a friend and I really wanted to go back and clear some of it off the beach.
"My friend and I collected four bags of litter and there were loads more items in the tide line.
"We collected lots of polystyrene, plastic bottles, cans, straws, balloons, glass bottles, rope, plastics, a flask, a flip-flop, sunscreen bottles, spray cans, marker pens, pens, takeaway trays, polystyrene cups and plastic cups.
"We did make a difference but there is still tons of teeny bits of polystyrene which im going to try go back and clear up throughout the week.
"This was a tiny patch of beach maybe a 100 yard stretch if that .
"It was such a sad sight seeing the amount of litter on the beach but at least that's four bags full off the beach and out of our oceans.
"We all need to be helping our environment more."
* The high tides battered the coast after the Environment Agency's annual Lincolnshire Beach Management scheme to protect around 20,000 homes and businesses, 24,500 static caravans, 35,000 hectares of land as well as a bustling tourist industry.
Over the course of the six-week, £7m scheme, the EA’s contractors pumped around 400,000 cubic metres of sand onto Lincolnshire’s beaches at Trusthorpe, Mablethorpe, Ingoldmells, Trunch Lane, Wolla Bank, Chapel Six Marshes and Huttoft.
This sand helps to protect people and their properties from coastal flood risk by preventing damage to the sea defences along the coast and reducing the risk of overtopping. The added sand acts as a buffer between the sea and the defences, taking out the brunt of the wave energy, thereby extending the life span of the defences.
The Standard spoke to the Environment Agency about the impact of the recent high tides. A spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the Environment Agency regularly monitors the beach profiles in this area and these inform any maintenance work that is required. If the defence level is compromised we will mobilise equipment and resources to rectify the situation.
“The coastal system constantly changes with every tide and we are aware that there have been considerable changes in the beach profile over the last couple of years and have increased the frequency of our monitoring visits in this area.
"We have instructed our contractors Team Van Oord who deliver the Lincolnshire Beach Management Scheme to survey the area for us so we can target our works over the coming months. Our field team have recently carried out some maintenance works to the sea defences in this area.”