Company volunteers time to protect Slapton Line from storms
A local environmental engineering company worked into the early hours to protect the road at Slapton Line as high winds and tides threatened to undermine it.
|Landmarc working late into the night to protect Slapton Line - credit Cllr Julian Brazil|
Landmarc Environmental Engineering were called to inspect the middle car park on the line by South Hams District Council on Monday but they decided to check on it on Saturday and while they were doing that they spotted a gap between the road and the rock armour protecting it.
Marcus Evans, owner of Landmarc, said: "We're currently working at Beesands and we know how reactive that bit of coastline is.
"While we were driving back along the road, about 500m from Torcross, I saw that the protection had been eaten away to within two foot of the road. I called SHDC and told them they might lose the road tonight."
I told them they might lose the road tonight
But roads are under the umbrella of Devon County Council, not SHDC, so Marcus contacted District Councillor Richard Foss.
Devon County Councillor Julian Brazil explained: "County Councillor Richard Foss contacted me to say that Landmarc were volunteering to move the rock armour closer to the road before large Spring tides and high winds had a chance to undermine the road.
"I said great, just do it.
"Cllr Foss also contacted DCC but when he finally got through to their emergency team, he was told that the work couldn't be undertaken due to the risk of uncovering ordnance.
"I contacted Marcus Evans, and he assured me that this team had worked on the beach many times, they had spotters with searchlights checking for anything and if they were worried, they'd stop.
"So they went ahead and worked until late into the night moving the rock armour up against the road."
So they went ahead and worked until late into the night moving the rock armour up against the road
Marcus confirmed that while there was a risk working on Slapton Sands, that risk was mitigated. "We're used to working there", he said, "We walk through the route that the machines will take and make sure there isn't anything there, and then we're checking all the time."
Landmarc moved between 80-90 tonnes of rock armour back against a 70m stretch of road where it had slipped down and been buried, and therefore not doing anything to protect the road. They were working until 1am.
|The newly postitioned rock armour along Slapton Line - credit Julian Brazil|
Julian continued: "If you go down there today, you can see little bits where the sea has got to the road and nibbled little bits of it but on the whole its undamaged.
"No one knows what could have happened but my feeling is that if Landmarc hadn't moved the armour, the road would have been undermined and we would be looking at a long road closure if not worse. Hats off to them."
If Landmarc hadn't moved the armour, the road would have been undermined and we would be looking at a long road closure if not worse
Julian said that DCC saying they would send someone to assess the area on Monday just "beggars belief" as that would have been far too late "half the road might have gone by then". He said he did understand DCC's nervousness about unexploded ordnance on the beach, but Monday just would have been much too late.
"Everyone knows nature takes the weekends off!" laughed Julian.
Everyone knows nature takes the weekends off
A spokesperson for Devon County Council said: "A Devon County Council spokesman said: "With the amount of ordnance in the area we cannot carry out work without an ordnance survey having been completed. We are arranging a survey before undertaking further clearance work and unblocking a culvert.
"There was no damage to the road and it was cleared and swept before it re-opened on Monday morning."