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Next set of battle lines drawn over the L'ancresse anti tank wall

Next set of battle lines drawn over the L'ancresse anti tank wall

Friday 02 November 2018

Next set of battle lines drawn over the L'ancresse anti tank wall

What could be the final hurdle in the long running saga of the L'ancresse wall could now be in sight, with the planning application to realign the eastern section of the bay likely to be submitted this week.

Through answers to a number of 'rule 14 questions', submitted by Deputy Neil Inder, the Committee for the Environment and Infrastructure, has confirmed its planning application, which has been months in the making, was due to be submitted and announced publicly by the end of today.

E&I has also confirmed that the island's planning officers have said that an 'Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening assessment' will be needed but no exact details have been confirmed yet on that.

Why is planning permission needed?

The States gave permission last year for the managed realignment of the eastern end of `L'ancresse bay. However, despite that, the E&I committee has to get planning permission to do the work.

That's because essentially the work will see new structures built on the beach, in the form of two groynes, which were once described at a public presentation as being "higher than the sea wall."

The wider plans include removing a 130m section of the anti-tank wall. With the two 'rock armour structures' in front of that, it's been predicted that sand dunes will build up - similar to those see at Port Soif, Grandes Rocques and Les Amarreurs.

Guernsey's entire coastline, or foreshore, is now designated an area of biodiversity, which has its own planning rules. However, the IDP does state that planning permission can be given in certain cases, including if "any negative impacts can be appropriately and proportionately mitigated in accordance with a scheme to be approved by the (Development and Planning) Authority."

Neil Inder

Pictured: Vale Deputy Neil Inder. 

Deputy Neil Inder has been among the most vocal political critics of the plans to remove part of the sea wall and the managed realignment of the bay.

He used 'rule 14' to set some written questions that E&I had to answer, addressing issues like the possibility of an environmental impact assessment, ongoing maintenance costs and a timeframe for getting the work started.

The work had originally been slated to take place this year, but with planning permission only now being sought, it is unlikely any work would start before the second half of next year.

With an environmental impact assessment likely to be necessary before the planning application can be considered, that could delay the work further. E&I told Deputy Inder that until it knows the scope of the  EIA it can't confirm when any work might take place. The EIA could require surveys, which might have to take place over the summer months. The cost of any EIA would also be determined by the scope of it. The EIA would be paid for out of the coastal defence budget E&I said, even though the committee has always said the wall at L'ancresse east does not form part of the island's coastal defence network as it is an anti tank wall.

Deputy Inder expressed concern that Royal Haskoning DV be used to carry out an EIA, but E&I said that decision would be made at a later date, not ruling out using its preferred environmental experts again.

The full rule 14 questions and answers can be read here. 

Pictured top: Part of the damaged wall.

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