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Seabed Mapping Project Off The Bridlington Coast

Seabed Mapping Project Off The Bridlington Coast

Published by the Yorkshire Coast Radio News Team at 7:01am 9th October 2016.

The second phase of a seabed mapping project is taking place off the coast of Bridlington.

The work began in 2011 with the completion of the first ever detailed nearshore survey to be carried out along the East Riding coastline. The results, when combined with the East Riding council’s upper beach data, now provide a complete record of the shoreline region, as well as being used to update the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office’s charts of the area.

The initial 2011 survey showed for the first time what the seabed off the coastline looks like, picking up previously unknown bedforms that show a diverse and complex marine environment. 

This new follow up work will resurvey key sites of interest such as the sand banks off Bridlington and Spurn Point, as well as smaller sand waves and the extensive barren mud flats that lie just offshore, to determine how these observed seabed features change over time. Analysis should then show how deep water sediment is transported along our shoreline and whether there is any interaction between this and upper beach supplies.

This knowledge, when combined with the council’s onshore beach and cliff erosion records, should then help the council and other agencies to understand how important these offshore sediment stores are to the coastal processes at the shoreline.

Neil McLachlan, senior coastal engineer for the council, is excited about seeing the results of the survey. He said:

“A lot of this type of work has already been done on the South Coast, but we needed it done here to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

“We never get to see what’s happening on the seabed and this tidal zone is where the majority of our sediment lies so it’s vitally important that we learn more about what is going on.

“In the longer term this data will enable us to monitor foreshore changes that may result with the onset of global warming and assess what impact other factors, such as offshore dredging, may be having on beach levels.

“We are looking forward to getting the results soon; the data we have seen already looks fascinating. The more knowledge we have, the more preventative action we can take.”

The study, which has been commissioned by the council using Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) money, will produce an accurate map of the seabed from Flamborough Head down to Spurn Point - from the shore up to 2km out to sea.

Results of the survey will be an important addition to the council’s shoreline management plan, as engineers are currently working with only limited knowledge of what is actually happening beneath the waves. 

To complete the study, which is known as a ‘bathymetric survey’, sound pulses will be transmitted to the seabed and collected by a survey vessel.  These signals are then used to build up an accurate 3D map of the seabed.

Work is being co-ordinated by Pell Frischmann, a national consultancy firm, and carried out by specialist seabed survey company, Titan Survey. It is hoped that the survey work will be completed by the end of the year.




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