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Port Authority defends dredging in Montrose erosion row

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Montrose Port Authority has hit back at claims its dredging activity is contributing to the erosion crisis in the Angus town.

Montrose Golf Links, whose 450-year-old medal course is under threat from the erosion, has pointed the finger at the port for ‘wasting’ the dredged material by dumping it at Lunan Bay.

Links director Chris Curnin claimed if the material was put onto Montrose beach in the correct position it would have a “significant impact and slow down the erosion”.

However, the CEO of Montrose Port Authority Nik Scott-Gray has responded by claiming a new analysis it commissioned shows there is no link between the port’s dredging activity and erosion.

A request by The Courier for a copy of the report was declined by Montrose Port Authority.

Mr Curnin said: “Montrose Golf Links has realigned the course on numerous occasions at huge expense and is actually following the shoreline management plan guidelines.

Chris Curnin of Montrose Golf Links at the beachfront

“A huge issue is still the dredging of Montrose Port. If the dredged material was put onto the beach in the correct position this would have a significant impact and slow down the erosion. Instead it is being dumped at Lunan Bay and wasted.”

Montrose Port Authority stated the location it dumps dredged material is dictated by its Marine Scotland licence.

Mr Scott-Gray said: “Montrose Port Authority recently commissioned a coastal process assessment, analysing the effect of dredging activity upon Montrose beach, running as far as the North Esk river mouth.

“Undertaken by leading marine consultancy ABPmer, the report was delivered just last week. It clearly states that there is no link between MPA’s dredging activity and any coastal erosion in the area.

“Rather, naturally-occurring soft sand erosion and rising sea levels are responsible for the present condition of this stretch of coastline.”

He added the port would be happy to participate in a beach replenishment programme but sand from St Cyrus beach should also be used to ensure a “long-lasting, effective solution.”

Representatives from the Montrose Golf Links met with cabinet secretary for the environment and climate change Roseanna Cunningham last week to discuss the issue of erosion.

It follows the publication of the Scottish Government’s national coastal change assessment which showed erosion was impacting on coastlines at a quicker rate than previously thought.

Mr Curnin said the minister’s visit was positive and a variety of ways to stop the dune erosion was discussed.

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