Angus Council bosses hope to use tonnes of sand from other parts of the region to save fast-disappearing dunes at Montrose Golf Links.
A £150,000 study – paid for by the Scottish Government – will consider a number of options, including using sand dredged from the town’s port.
But critics have labelled the plan “another consultation” as experts warn flood waters may breach the dunes and threaten properties as early as 2025.
The dunes are Montrose’s last defence against the incoming tide. Councillors discussed the next steps to protect the town at a recent meeting.
Conservative councillor Ross Greig suggested Angus Council was pursuing “short term solutions to what’s going to be a big, long, long term problem.”
He added: “If the dunes in Montrose aren’t there it’s not just that we lose a golf course. Effectively, we lose Montrose altogether.”
SNP councillor Bill Duff, however, said he was “absolutely delighted” the work was going ahead.
The council has been working with the NatureScot led initiative Dynamic Coast to find a solution to coastal erosion in Montrose.
Bill said the “best experts in the field” had informed the project.
“This is the first substantial sign that we’re adopting the proposals put forward by Dynamic Coast,” he added.
Montrose erosion could cause ‘flood corridors’ to open by 2025
At the recent meeting, councillors were told that “flood corridors” could open at the dune system – threatening properties in the town – by 2025.
Angus Council’s team leader for infrastructure commission Eleanor Doyle said there were challenges to finding an affordable solution to prevent this from happening.
Dynamic Coast has recommended dune replenishment. This involves heightening and nourishing the dunes with many tonnes of sand and sediment.
At the moment, the council does not know where all this material will come from.
“Our biggest challenge is getting the material on to the bay and where we get it from, and an affordable solution to that,” said Eleanor.
What are the options?
Montrose Port Authority (MPA) is examining the option of deepening its navigation channel. That would provide a plentiful supply of material locally.
However, MPA is still investigating the viability of the dredging scheme.
Other options include using material from:
- “Maintenance” dredges of Montrose port.
- North Esk estuary.
- South Esk estuary.
- St Cyrus Bay.
- A merchant, which would have to be transported to the site.
- Excess built up material at the groynes in front of the GSK complex in Montrose.
Graeme Dailly is the council’s director of infrastructure and environment.
He said: “We’re also looking at how we source material that’s going to replenish the dune network to develop a longer term solution.
“I would describe it as going beyond a consultation. It is an options appraisal and is a crucial first step in terms of taking it forward.”
The council expects to spend £4.6 million on work at the dunes. It is anticipating a grant of £3.2m from the Scottish Government towards this. The Scottish Government has yet to confirm the award.