Cornwall Council receives funding to protect vital sand dunes

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Cornwall Council has secured funding to protect sand dunes which act as vital sea defences for coastal communities. 

Cornwall is one of 25 areas in England in line to benefit from a share of £150M in funding through the Flood and Coastal Innovative Resilience Programme. 

The successful bid is called Building Community Resilience on a Dynamic Coast by Making Space for Sand. 

The project, hosted by Cornwall Council, will run between 2021 and 2027 and could attract as much as £1 million per year of funding from Defra over the next six years.



The project recognises that coastal sand dunes are important natural sea defences. The sustainability of many of our beaches is dependent upon the health of the sand dunes that lie behind them. This project will provide state-of-the-art assessments of Cornwall’s past, present and future sandy beach dune systems. It will use cutting-edge coastal modelling tools to simulate and visualise future coastal change and work with communities to help sustain coastal sand dune environments. 

Making Space for Sand is led by Cornwall Council but will also be delivered by partners including the University of Plymouth, The Plymouth Coastal Observatory and Cornwall Wildlife Trust. The Environment Agency and Natural England are strategic partners. 

Dr Dave Watkins, Flood and Coastal Resilience Lead at Cornwall Council,ledCornwall Council’sbid. Hesaid: “We are delighted that our proposal was successful. There was a lot ofhigh-quality competition.  

“This is about preparing communities to adapt to coastal change and recognising that coastal sand dunes need to be respected and allowed to develop as natural fringes to the coast rather than constrained by inappropriate development or infrastructure. 

“Coastal sand dunes are dynamic and change quickly in response to individual storms but there are also longer-term climatic trends at work. If the dunes are constrained then we will eventually lose many of our beaches. 

“We will fully engage with communities and look forward to working with local volunteer groups, towns and parishes to plan how we adapt to live with our dynamic dune systems and how we go about making space for sand.” 

Councillor Martyn Alvey, portfolio holder for Environment and Public Protection at Cornwall Council, said: “It is brilliant that Cornwall Council has secured funding to deliver the Making Space for Sand project. 

“It is vital that we protect our beach dune systems which are really important natural sea defences.  

“This project will benefit both residents and businesses and help protect Cornish communities from flooding.” 

A total of 40 sandy beach dune locations around the Cornish coastline have been identified as having sustainability issues and will be subject to ‘state of the dunes’ assessments. Many of these will then benefit from further modelling, monitoring, management and adaptation planning. 

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