Scottish Government award £440,000 to Montrose Coastal Erosion Project

Published on Wednesday 24 January 2024

Angus Council is to receive £440,000 from Scottish Government towards its efforts to combat coastal erosion at Montrose.

The funding is a share of £1.05m from the Scottish Government’s Coastal Change Adaptation Programme, and forms part of £12m committed for coastal change adaptation during this Scottish Parliament, which will be delivered in 2024/25 and highlight good practice across Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition Mairi McAllan said: “The climate emergency is not a distant threat - it is with us today. We need to start adapting our coast to sea level rise and the risk from coastal erosion. So, I’m very pleased that local authorities are seizing the opportunity to do this essential work, with their local communities being key partners.”

The dunes at Montrose, next to the town’s golf links, provide a natural flood barrier but have endured significant and much-publicised erosion. This erosion continues at rates higher than previously predicted. Repair work is urgently required to maintain the dune cordon and reduce the risk of a breach, which would open up flood corridors through the dunes.

Increased erosion highlights that the sediment in the bay is out of balance. A managed realignment is planned to help address this, in line with the Angus Shoreline Management Plan, whilst preventing flood corridors opening within the dunes. This will be done by renourishing the beach and building up the dunes using imported sediment.

Studies by Angus Council and Dynamic Coast highlighted that, with erosion rates higher than historic rates, this dune repair work is urgently required to maintain the dune cordon and reduce flood risk.

The £440,000 provided will help to fund bringing sediment material on to the beach at Montrose to add to the dunes and reduce the risk of flood corridors opening. It will be used to reshape and rebuild the dunes at the worst areas of erosion and will be the first phase of works to provide long-term beach nourishment.

Angus Council’s Communities Convener, Cllr Mark McDonald said: “This latest funding is a massive boost to the project and will go towards the first phase of works to safeguard the most vulnerable sections of the shoreline.

“We are working hard to source the material needed to nourish the beach and to carry out the assessments that are required to gain permission for the works to go ahead.

“While extremely welcome, it is important to recognise that this funding only goes so far and substantially more funding will be needed to provide long-term protection of the Montrose shoreline. We will continue to work with Scottish Government and other partners to make this possible.”

Following a tendering process, a consultant was appointed last year to explore options for sourcing sand material to rebuild the dunes and, thereafter, carry out an environmental screening of the area under Environmental Impact Regulations.

The results of the options for sourcing material study are being finalised and the environmental screening and work to procure the required material is ongoing. This stage of the project has been funded by a £350,000 secured by Angus Council from the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund. The Council is also consulting with key partners including Montrose Golf LinksNature ScotMarine Scotland, Montrose Port Authority and SEPA on the overall project.

Ms McAllan said: “These case studies will be an important source of knowledge to share with others across Scotland and to help us all take forward projects in the future.

“Later this month we will publish a draft of our ambitious new National Adaptation Plan to address the climate risks facing Scotland.  We’re already bringing forward measures to help protect homes, the natural environment and agriculture.  And we’re providing £150 million of extra funding, on top of our annual £42m funding, for flood risk management over the course of this Parliament and consulting on a new Flood Resilience Strategy this year.”

Angus Council will continue its engagement with the Montrose community and key stakeholders and provide further details on the project as it progresses.