Earlier Reports from all meetings involving the Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group
(in reverse chronological order)

Report on meeting 2nd September 2011

The main topic for discussion was the Shoreline Managemnt Plan, a full copy of which is available on the SMP website http://www.westofwalessmp.org . It is available in both Welsh and English. The part you want is West of Wales SMP and then PDZ12.
This is a large and complicated document. The part relevent to our area can be seen by clicking on the link below. The report is concerned with the effects of likely rise in sea levels and what, if anything, should be done about it. In the worst scenario the Llandanwg Dunes would be breached, the western part of Shell Island, Ymwlch farm, the Christian Mountain Centre at Pensarn, the railway line and main road at the head of the estuary, a part of the airfield and a small part of Llanbedr would all be flooded and lost. Proposals in the plan range from No Active Intervention (NAI) at Mochras, through Hold The Line (HTL) for most parts of the Artro Estuary, to Managed Realignment (MR) for the Llandanwg Sand Dunes.
But note that this latter plan for the dunes is for local communities to finance and execute. The default policy of the Gwynedd County Council with regard to the dunes is NAI.
Other on going matters discussed were, with agreement of interested bodies, deploying straw bales along the lagoon side of the dunes, and laying a pebble bed on the seaward side of the beach. The group will continue to bring public attention to this matter by means of notices, discussion and Facebook. Although Shell Island have been dredging and dumping sand outside of the lagoon we do not propose to pay for any more sand on the dunes at the present time.
Local Shoreline Management Plan.pdf

Report on meeting 19th Nov. 2010

Concern at the possibility of flooding at Pensarn, Llandanwg and Llanbedr was expressed at a public meeting in Llanfair on Friday.

The meeting was arranged by Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group to inform local residents of work carried out so far to strengthen the dune system at Llandanwg.

Project manager Simon Jones detailed how the group had obtained grants to strengthen and fence the weak section of the dune at the south end of Llandanwg beach, where they had then planted marram grass. Notices had also been placed explaining the importance of not trampling the fragile dune.

The dune is now strengthening, and the group is seeking to add protective measures. However, permission to replace the broken groynes has so far been refused.

Simon explained how the group had been working together with other bodies, including Gwynedd Council, the Crown Estates, the National Trust, Snowdonia National Park, Countryside Council for Wales , Keep Wales Tidy, the Environment Agency and local farmers. Local workers had been used for all projects undertaken.

Simon stressed how important it was for local residents to express their opinions on the situation, explaining that, if sea levels rise, there are two options i)to let the sea in or to ii)hold the line to protect the existing land.

It was pointed out by members of the audience that if sea levels increase the railway, the Airfield and the historic church in the dunes could be threatened, as well as local properties.

Simon informed people that there are to be meetings to report on the West Wales Coastline plan in the new year. As well as meetings in Barmouth and Porthmadog, the Group is hoping to obtain a local meeting to discuss the issue. He promised to make this date known as soon as possible.

A collection for children in need was taken at the meeting; a sum of £23.07 was raised.

Report 2010
A new Chairman and Project Manager were appointed at the February AGM.
A photographic record has been placed upon the website.
(See Media Files)
There is also a video showing flooding and wave effects. This is a large file and requires a good broadband connection.
(See Media Files)

Report 2009
This year just maintenance of the fencing. Only 1/3rd of the money required for the stones has been offered so far. matched funding is the problem.

Report 2008
Although there is sand accretion on the beach, the dunes are getting much thinner by sea erosion. It is planned to obtain some natural river washed stones to further protect the seaward side of the dunes.

Report 2007
No further progress this year. The dunes are still surviving, but with some more erosion.
The fencing is replaced and repaired as required.

Report April 2006
Local residents are concerned about the future of the Artro estuary.
As most of you know, the estuary is protected from storms and rough seas by a sea wall and a line of sand dunes, the only connexion to the sea being the very narrow channel adjacent to Shell Island, which is confined by rocks on either side.
The sea wall appears reasonably strong, although the metal cladding is dangerously rusted, but the dunes require constant attention if they are not to be overcome by storms and washed away. Three years ago this danger appeared imminent, and a local group of volunteers got permission to bring in hundreds of tons of additional sand onto the dunes and to plant marram grass to hold it all together.
This has proved on the whole to be a good temporary solution, and has been reinforced by the addition of some rocks, placed by Gwynedd Council, to reduce the swirling movement of the tide along the beach.
These measures have provided a temporary respite, though recent high tides have done serious damage and demonstrated that what has been done is not enough. What is now needed is the renovation of the system of groynes which once acted to reduce the force of the tides and waves upon the beach. This is a job beyond the scope of volunteers, but if it is not done another crisis will occur in a few years time. The incursion of the sea would destroy a beautiful estuary and put paid to the boating and fishing which so many people enjoy.
We see that in other parts of Wales (i.e. Nefyn and Pwllheli) considerable amounts of money are being spent on coastal protection and feel there should surely be funds available for our estuary. It is hoped that the Council will consider the matter and advise how we might proceed.

Report October 2004
I am pleased to report that the maram grass took well and now looks quite green in all areas where planted.
Gwynedd County Council has placed some large rocks where the breakwater joins the dunes on the seaward side to break up reflected waves along the shore.
We would still like to replace the groynes, but this is beyond our budget at present.
Further reinforcing of the dunes with hard rock armouring is not allowed by the terms of the SSI.

Report October 2003
Much has been achieved this summer. We had a contracter move many hundreds of tons of sand from the south end of the lagoon, accross the river and reprofiled the dunes where they were worst eroded. This was followed by erection of fencing completely encircling the dunes to try and keep people off the delicate structures. This has been reinforced by notices on the fence explaining why they are neccessary and asking for cooperation. During September a number of volunteers, about a dozen at a time, worked for 11 days planting maram grass on the bare sand. It is hoped that the grass will have a chance to root this winter and help to hold the dunes in place. The work of the volunteers is much appreciated.
Thus the damage done to the dunes has been repaired. Discussions are still ongoing regarding another four actions to try to prevent further erosion. These actions are more sand on the beach in front of the dunes, stones to break the waves, repairs to the breakwater, and finally reinstatement of the groynes.

Newly planted maram grass on the dunes, lagoon side and seaward side.

Report April 2003
Meetings of the Llandanwg Sand Dunes Protection Group took place on 24th February and 23rd April. A bank account has been opened for the group. The funds now available are 10,800 through CAE, 6,650 from Crown marine Estates, and 500 from Keep Wales Tidy. A contract is about to be let for fencing completely around the affected dunes to keep off pedestrians. We await a site visit on 15/5/03 from Lucy Kaye, CCW Officer, who will consider whether consent can be given to use sand from the lagoon to reprofile the dunes. Planting of maram grass etc. will follow in the Autumn when conditions will be more conducive to growth.

View of southern part of the dunes where the river Artro is undercutting. Width here is less than 30 metres.

Coastal Erosion Report February 2003
Following a long period last year when no progress was made, things look a bit more promising now. Many different bodies are involved and no one wished to take responsibility for the work until a number of factors had been resolved. One major factor was ownership of the affected land. It has now been established and accepted that the Crown Marine Estates do own the sand dunes between the LPYC clubhouse and the Maes (National Trust). The groynes and breakwater were put in place by a previous Rivers Authority and are now the responsibility of the Environmental Agency.
A "Pre Feasibility Study" has also been carried out by consultants acting for Gwynedd County Council. The study confirmed that the dunes were being attacked by wind, sea, river and pedestrian erosion. There was a danger of them being breached and five properties are in danger of being flooded, or partially flooded, on a regular basis. The report proposed a three part plan of action.

1. Establish a management plan.
2. Further investigation.
3. Effecting repairs to the dune system to prevent erosion. This could include:-
i. Training of the river.
ii. Repairs to the breakwater and replacement of the groynes
iii. Reprofile and stabilise the dune system.
iv. Preclude the public from the dunes area.

It was noted that the existance of the SSSI and SAC causes complications and that no work could be done on i. or ii. above without further studies, a project appraisal and a full Environmental Statement. The Environmental Statement alone would cost tens of thousands of pounds. The total cost of the work was estimated at hundreds of thousands of pounds! However, taking a long term view the consultants did make a favourable cost benefit ratio calculation.
It can be concluded that nothing major will take place in a hurry. However there is no reason why actions iii. and iv. above cannot go ahead in the short term. Indeed the Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group are applying for a grant from an environmental aid agency (CAE) and also expect a contribution from the Crown Marine Estates (CME). The CME will probably pay for materials for fencing, matting and maram grass planting. If a grant can be obtained from CAE then machinery will be hired to move loose sand from the centre of Mochras Lagoon to reprofile the sand dunes. These funds are available this financial year if we can secure them in time. Some sand may be available from the work providing access to Llandanwg beach, presently underway. Also the maram grass has to be planted this spring to allow time for it to become established.
As can be seen from the above, we have moved from an impasse situation to one where quick action has to be taken and work carried out very soon. A meeting of the Dunes protection group is being held on Monday night, 24th Feb. I will keep you informed of progress as it happens.

Coastal Erosion Report February 2002
Unfortunately the first weekend in February 2002 saw some of the highest tides ever seen at Llandanwg, accompanied by storm force winds from the south west. Nothing could stand up to the onslaught. The trees, fencing and posts were completely carried away, and the dunes suffered further damage. All the sand went from the beach and left a field of stones. Our pictures show the before and after the storm situation.
We can only hope that the work did in some small way help to give some protection to the dunes whilst the storm was raging. And we did get some much needed publicity for the plight of the dunes. The community will not give up on their efforts. The defences will be built again when time, weather and volunteers permit. Perhaps next time alternatives will be tried, such as large bales of straw or silage which have been damaged. If they can remain long enough for some sand to accrue, before the next storm, then they may be more successful.
Thanks to all who contributed.

Before the storm and, after the storm 3rd Feb 2002 .

Coastal Erosion Report 24/01/02
Following the meeting reported below, a story was run in the Cambrian News. (10/1/02 click here to view)
A working party consisting mainly of LPYC members met on a foul Sunday morning 20th January to work on the seaward side of the sand dunes nearest to our clubhouse. Materials were transported to the site by local farmers Edward and Arwel Thomas (Y Mwlch) and Howell Jones (Pensarn Farm). One hundred fence posts were dug into the sand to construct a wall from 110 Christmas trees. The chestnut fence was also completed from where it finished to the metal shuttering. This will give the dunes a chance to recover by providing a base for sand to accumulate upon, and also keep the public off. A good job was done and the people involved were justifiably proud of their efforts. The Cambrian news is printing a follow up story this week. (24/01/02 click here to view)

Coastal Erosion Report 16/01/02
Llandanwg Coastal Defence Meeting at Royal Sportsman Hotel, Porthmadog, 16/01/02

In attendance were representatives from the Country Land & Business Association (CLA),
Llanbedr & Pensarn Yacht Club (LPYC),
Llandanwg and Llanbedr Community Councils,
Christian Mountain Centre at Pensarn (CMC),
the Air Cadets,
St. Tanwgs Charch Llandanwg ,
Shell Island,
Crown Marine Estates (CME),
Gwynedd County Council (GCC),
the Countryside Counsil for Wales (CCW),
the Environmental Agency (EA),
and local residents.

Sue Evans and John Wynne of the CLA chaired parts of the meeting. The CLA wish to change their involvement with this matter from being the prime mover to a more supporting role. To this end a new committee was set up to be named something like "The Llandanwg Sea Defences Association". Mark Daley, CMC Director, was appointed Secretary, other members so far being Jonathan Webb, Richard Poole, Colin Mackie and David Robinson.

Hugh Davies, Group Engineer, Coastal Protection, GCC, gave a very helpful and detailed explanation of what is possible and not possible, the rules relating to expenditure, and what needs to be established for funding to be made available. A pre-feasibility study is to be carried out as to the likely costs / benefits and necessity to carry out any work. This study will be completed by May this year. Mr Davies explained that the worst case scenarios postulated by some members would not come about. There would always be some vestige of sand dunes to break the sea and the land inside the flood banks would not be adversely affected. The effect on the visual amenities from the loss of the sand dunes, is however accepted, and the fact that the club house could become an island. The moorings within the lagoon and navigation in the river could also be affected. However the GCC are only concerned with threats to property.

Jonathon Neil from the CCW discussed the interests of his organisation with particular reference to the impact of the SCSI. It appears that we should be able to seek and obtain waivers from the CCW to enable LPYC to carry out all its customary operations. He also described some of the rare and important flora and crustaceans found in the area designated as a SCSI. He is not averse to attempts, using accepted best practices, to preserve the sand dunes as they are, or used to be a short time ago.

David Roberts from the Environmental Agency explained that his Agency had permissive powers to maintain the flood-banks along the perimeter of the lagoon. With the cooperation of the landowners, and the agreement of the CCW, the would continue to maintain these flood-banks.

The way forward has been hampered in some way be the inability to establish rightful ownership of the sand dunes between the Maes (National Trust) and the Yacht Club premises (CME). It is thought that this area must also belong to CME. It needs a body to take the initiative, and with the consent and support of the owner, to propose remedies. This is what the new committee hope to do. In this case the GCC, CCW, possibly the EA, and possibly the CME, would be willing to contribute funds. However there must be pro-active management of an ongoing nature, to ensure that the remedial work continues, and that the authorities money is not wasted. Watch this space!

A village and thousands of acres of surrounding land are threatened with flooding as a result of long-term coastal erosion in Meirionnydd, landowners have warned. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has called for emergency repairs to strengthen two points of increasing weakness in sand dunes behind Llandanwg beach, which protect the nearby community of Llanbedr, about three miles south of Harlech.
A study by John Wynne, a member of Meirionnydd CLA branch committee has concluded that the width of the 200-yard stretch of dunes has been whittled away from about 30 yards to about 17 yards in two years. This has been caused mainly by sea erosion. plus some loss to the rear of the dunes by erosion from the changing course of the River Artro.
The CLA has also urged that some of the £25-million recently promised by National Assembly Environment Minister Sue Essex for flood defence improvements should be spent on measures aimed at providing long-term coastal protection for Llanbedr village and the Artro valley. Mr Wynne has called for the construction of timber groins on Llandanwg beach to replace similar structures washed away by the sea, the loss of which has been blamed for allowing high tides to out-flank the sea wall and erode the dunes. John Wynne said: "We urge Gwynedd County Council to respond to the appeal by the Environment Minister for organisations with responsibilities for flood defence to make the most of the opportunity provided by the £25-million package. The authority should apply for funding for coastal protection measures to stop the dangerous erosion of the dunes at Llandanwg beach.
Local residents have expressed increasing concerns about the clearly visible shrinkage of the dunes as a vitally-important barrier to the sea, which if penetrated or lost would result in serious flooding for Llanbedr village, the church, the nearby airfield, a sewage farm, a railway line, various outlying dwellings and thousands of acres of farmland in the Artro valley. Several yards of beach and dunes - which are a site of special scientific interest - are being lost to the sea every year. There are concerns that if the present rate of erosion continues unchecked, the sea could burst through the dunes when a high tide coincides with an on-shore north-westerly storm to raise high water significantly above its usual level.
Appeals for emergency action to curb the loss of the dunes have suggested the possibility of plugging the two thinnest weak spots on both the sea and river sides with boulders. But as a more long-term guarantee of coastal protection. there have been calls for six new timber groins to be constructed on the beach to replace the old groins which have been washed away long ago.
Tidal action against the old groins created the sand dunes, and it is believed that new groins would be the best strategy for saving and restoring the dunes as a natural sea defence, offering security and protection for Llanbedr and the surrounding area.
Mr Wynne added: "We welcome the principle of the National Assembly flood defence initiative and its recognition that coastal protection should be given the priority it deserves. "We also hope that the promised funding and the Assembly's leadership will encourage local authorities and other organisations with flood defence responsibilities to invest in improvements to stop land being invaded and taken by the sea."

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