Is Southend Pier really under threat from work being carried at London Gateway superport?

Southend Pier

Peter Wexham on Southend foreshore

First published in Echo News
Last updated
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A NEW probe into a loss of Southend’s foreshore, which some people fear could threaten Southend Pier and the town’s fishing industry, could be launched.

Southend Council is considering a new investigation into why the mudflats appear to be disappearing after an Environment Agency ruled out the new DP World superport in Stanford-le-Hope was the cause.

Yet several councillors still believe the digging of a four-metre deep channel down the Thames so the world’s largest container ships can reach the £1.5million port, is the root of the issue.

Martin Terry, spokesman for the Independent group of councillors, said: “It’s too much of a coincidence that it has happened at the same time as the dredging.

“We need to look at this again.

“We haven’t even had any of these giant ships come down.

“It’s posing a threat to the fishing industry.

“We may have a problem with the pier if it carries on.”

An independent 11-month study, costing £6,000, found no difference in the seasonal changes to the foreshore since the Dubai-based firm began dredging in 2010 - and mud levels are have very gradually increased over the past two decades.

But council officers, who have suggested heavy rainfall in early 2012 may have washed mud away, will look at the cost and scope of a new study after a cross-party group of councillors rejected July’s report on Monday.

Critics and fishermen claim the mudflats, which provides habitat to cockles and worms that feed fish and birds, have disappeared so much that only clay and stones are left between Chalkwell and the pier.

Retired fishermen Peter Wexham, a Lib Dem councillor for Leigh, said: “It’s a barren landscape, like a moonscape.

“Now the oysters have gone there is nothing there.”

Comments (18)

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8:43am Fri 11 Oct 13

Self Rightous Be Thankful says...

This might explain why there have been so many findings of ordnance, with the mud washed away they are now visible, five years ago they were only found by bait digggers, now they are being found in their dozens.

It's also been published that hundreds of coins have been found, on the surface of the hard packed sand, which was once covered by 2 feet of mud...
This might explain why there have been so many findings of ordnance, with the mud washed away they are now visible, five years ago they were only found by bait digggers, now they are being found in their dozens. It's also been published that hundreds of coins have been found, on the surface of the hard packed sand, which was once covered by 2 feet of mud... Self Rightous Be Thankful
  • Score: 11

8:59am Fri 11 Oct 13

rhowes says...

I think the Council should continue to monitor the situation. We need our mud.

Also, after 13 years of this Administration, I agree with the MOD that we should have a survey of ordinance on the seafront and blow it up!
I think the Council should continue to monitor the situation. We need our mud. Also, after 13 years of this Administration, I agree with the MOD that we should have a survey of ordinance on the seafront and blow it up! rhowes
  • Score: 6

9:55am Fri 11 Oct 13

Alice in Her Own Land :P says...

This is the same photograph of the person who was waffling on about all the ammunition still on Southend's beaches the other week!
This is the same photograph of the person who was waffling on about all the ammunition still on Southend's beaches the other week! Alice in Her Own Land :P
  • Score: 8

10:35am Fri 11 Oct 13

Clifford Close says...

nice load of scrap iron to go down to the metal merchants with
nice load of scrap iron to go down to the metal merchants with Clifford Close
  • Score: -3

11:11am Fri 11 Oct 13

pembury53 says...

Alice in Her Own Land :P wrote:
This is the same photograph of the person who was waffling on about all the ammunition still on Southend's beaches the other week!
yep, anything to get in the papers again, even with the same picture......
[quote][p][bold]Alice in Her Own Land :P[/bold] wrote: This is the same photograph of the person who was waffling on about all the ammunition still on Southend's beaches the other week![/p][/quote]yep, anything to get in the papers again, even with the same picture...... pembury53
  • Score: 5

11:14am Fri 11 Oct 13

Audioman says...

Pull the old thing down big eyesore.
Pull the old thing down big eyesore. Audioman
  • Score: -4

11:44am Fri 11 Oct 13

Self Rightous Be Thankful says...

Audioman wrote:
Pull the old thing down big eyesore.
It will fall down, once the erosion compromises the foundations, and will be deemed unfit for use long before that, when will people wake up, to the fact Southend's mudflats are in the process of eroding.
[quote][p][bold]Audioman[/bold] wrote: Pull the old thing down big eyesore.[/p][/quote]It will fall down, once the erosion compromises the foundations, and will be deemed unfit for use long before that, when will people wake up, to the fact Southend's mudflats are in the process of eroding. Self Rightous Be Thankful
  • Score: 7

3:40pm Fri 11 Oct 13

Joe Wildman-Clark says...

As I have said before create a "baffle" a man made obstruction of rocks 3/4 of the way out between the shore and the new deep water channel this will help slow the receding tide and thus it will slow erosion as the small particles of mud will settle before being washed away. Things could be taken further by making flat concrete stages at various heights to enable seals to beach themselves, another thing that could be constructed on top is a small tower to act as a refuge for idiots who get cut off by the tide.

Whilst it might not prove popular with fishermen it would also provide a place for fish to shelter, the same type of construction could be used to protect the pier by laying rocks parallel with it, this would keep the mud under the pier protected and would also help prevent wayward fishing boats from colliding with the pier.
As I have said before create a "baffle" a man made obstruction of rocks 3/4 of the way out between the shore and the new deep water channel this will help slow the receding tide and thus it will slow erosion as the small particles of mud will settle before being washed away. Things could be taken further by making flat concrete stages at various heights to enable seals to beach themselves, another thing that could be constructed on top is a small tower to act as a refuge for idiots who get cut off by the tide. Whilst it might not prove popular with fishermen it would also provide a place for fish to shelter, the same type of construction could be used to protect the pier by laying rocks parallel with it, this would keep the mud under the pier protected and would also help prevent wayward fishing boats from colliding with the pier. Joe Wildman-Clark
  • Score: 7

3:52pm Fri 11 Oct 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

The Pier needs all the support it can get.
The Pier needs all the support it can get. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 7

4:36pm Fri 11 Oct 13

leigh-my-town says...

Put a Ferris wheel on it.
Put a Ferris wheel on it. leigh-my-town
  • Score: -3

4:39pm Fri 11 Oct 13

whateverhappened says...

Just dump the mud from the dredging onto the mud flats ,,,£10,000 for that consulation thank you.
Just dump the mud from the dredging onto the mud flats ,,,£10,000 for that consulation thank you. whateverhappened
  • Score: 0

4:51pm Fri 11 Oct 13

BinDipper says...

I've been fishing off Southend for many years now and the last couple of years have been awful. So many blank days. I think this is a lot to do with the dredging, if the worms and shellfish are disappearing then the fish won't come inshore to feed. If it's not good for Anglers like me then imagine the impact on the commercial industry in the Estuary.
I've been fishing off Southend for many years now and the last couple of years have been awful. So many blank days. I think this is a lot to do with the dredging, if the worms and shellfish are disappearing then the fish won't come inshore to feed. If it's not good for Anglers like me then imagine the impact on the commercial industry in the Estuary. BinDipper
  • Score: 5

6:35pm Fri 11 Oct 13

Self Rightous Be Thankful says...

Joe Wildman-Clark wrote:
As I have said before create a "baffle" a man made obstruction of rocks 3/4 of the way out between the shore and the new deep water channel this will help slow the receding tide and thus it will slow erosion as the small particles of mud will settle before being washed away. Things could be taken further by making flat concrete stages at various heights to enable seals to beach themselves, another thing that could be constructed on top is a small tower to act as a refuge for idiots who get cut off by the tide.

Whilst it might not prove popular with fishermen it would also provide a place for fish to shelter, the same type of construction could be used to protect the pier by laying rocks parallel with it, this would keep the mud under the pier protected and would also help prevent wayward fishing boats from colliding with the pier.
Too little too late, the erosion has been going on for over 2 years, due that time frame, new channels caused by variants of currents, have cut new gulleys towards the Westcliff and Southend beaches, ever wondered why there has been an increase in swimmers having to be rescued ? the currents are now much stronger, hence the depletion of the mud flats, the pier's foundation surrounding shingle, and the obvious findings, of previously buried wartime shells. WAKE UP SOUTHEND COUNCIL, previous warnings were ignored as fantasy, soon everyone will see for themselves, the power of a tidal river, as it meets open sea.
[quote][p][bold]Joe Wildman-Clark[/bold] wrote: As I have said before create a "baffle" a man made obstruction of rocks 3/4 of the way out between the shore and the new deep water channel this will help slow the receding tide and thus it will slow erosion as the small particles of mud will settle before being washed away. Things could be taken further by making flat concrete stages at various heights to enable seals to beach themselves, another thing that could be constructed on top is a small tower to act as a refuge for idiots who get cut off by the tide. Whilst it might not prove popular with fishermen it would also provide a place for fish to shelter, the same type of construction could be used to protect the pier by laying rocks parallel with it, this would keep the mud under the pier protected and would also help prevent wayward fishing boats from colliding with the pier.[/p][/quote]Too little too late, the erosion has been going on for over 2 years, due that time frame, new channels caused by variants of currents, have cut new gulleys towards the Westcliff and Southend beaches, ever wondered why there has been an increase in swimmers having to be rescued ? the currents are now much stronger, hence the depletion of the mud flats, the pier's foundation surrounding shingle, and the obvious findings, of previously buried wartime shells. WAKE UP SOUTHEND COUNCIL, previous warnings were ignored as fantasy, soon everyone will see for themselves, the power of a tidal river, as it meets open sea. Self Rightous Be Thankful
  • Score: 4

6:38pm Fri 11 Oct 13

Self Rightous Be Thankful says...

rhowes wrote:
I think the Council should continue to monitor the situation. We need our mud.

Also, after 13 years of this Administration, I agree with the MOD that we should have a survey of ordinance on the seafront and blow it up!
The term is ORDNANCE, numbnuts
[quote][p][bold]rhowes[/bold] wrote: I think the Council should continue to monitor the situation. We need our mud. Also, after 13 years of this Administration, I agree with the MOD that we should have a survey of ordinance on the seafront and blow it up![/p][/quote]The term is ORDNANCE, numbnuts Self Rightous Be Thankful
  • Score: 7

6:38pm Fri 11 Oct 13

Self Rightous Be Thankful says...

Self Rightous Be Thankful wrote:
rhowes wrote:
I think the Council should continue to monitor the situation. We need our mud.

Also, after 13 years of this Administration, I agree with the MOD that we should have a survey of ordinance on the seafront and blow it up!
The term is ORDNANCE, numbnuts
Though Ordinance survey maps might show you way home..........
[quote][p][bold]Self Rightous Be Thankful[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rhowes[/bold] wrote: I think the Council should continue to monitor the situation. We need our mud. Also, after 13 years of this Administration, I agree with the MOD that we should have a survey of ordinance on the seafront and blow it up![/p][/quote]The term is ORDNANCE, numbnuts[/p][/quote]Though Ordinance survey maps might show you way home.......... Self Rightous Be Thankful
  • Score: 7

8:01pm Fri 11 Oct 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

so if its proved that the new port is responsible what will be done about it..?
so if its proved that the new port is responsible what will be done about it..? DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 0

10:37pm Fri 11 Oct 13

SARFENDMAN says...

Biggest threat to the pier is the lack of real maintainence to the structure. The old Town Engineer who once regularly surveyed the strucure raised concerns years ago. The railway is living on borrowed time. Am sure one day we'll find in closed because it will suddenly be deemed an unsafe structure and that will be that with no money for major repairs.
Biggest threat to the pier is the lack of real maintainence to the structure. The old Town Engineer who once regularly surveyed the strucure raised concerns years ago. The railway is living on borrowed time. Am sure one day we'll find in closed because it will suddenly be deemed an unsafe structure and that will be that with no money for major repairs. SARFENDMAN
  • Score: 1

11:40am Sun 13 Oct 13

abd123 says...

The London Gateway dredging is specifically authorised by Parliament. It is a national infrastructure project and if it is causing problems at Southend then there can be no action against DP World. Talk of the Pier going is speculation without evidence that things will get that bad. It is hype to get attention. PS the oysters have not gone. Recent articles about oyster pickers show that.
The London Gateway dredging is specifically authorised by Parliament. It is a national infrastructure project and if it is causing problems at Southend then there can be no action against DP World. Talk of the Pier going is speculation without evidence that things will get that bad. It is hype to get attention. PS the oysters have not gone. Recent articles about oyster pickers show that. abd123
  • Score: 1

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