Ahead of an important, independent scientific study taking place at Hoylake beach next month, Wirral Council has launched an online information portal for people to access details about what is happening and why.
The site – https://haveyoursay.wirral.gov.uk/hoylake-beach-information – sets out the timeline for the work that is being done on a new Beach Management Plan for Hoylake, which includes a comprehensive, independent ecology and geomorphology study of the beach beginning in August, ahead of a public consultation towards the end of 2021.
The site also gives access to a wide range of background documents and details and aims to answer questions that people might have at this stage of the process.
Hoylake Beach is home to a range of important species and habitats and is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Ramsar site.
This means it is of global importance for its intertidal habitats, including sand and mudflats, saltmarsh and sand dunes. These habitats support internationally significant populations of waders, wildfowl, terns and gulls.
Its status as an SSSI means it is protected under law from anything that puts those elements at risk, including interference with vegetation and other naturally occurring features or any planting of new vegetation. Wirral Council manages the beach by assent from Natural England.
Through the findings of the independent Ecology and Geomorphology study – combined with public consultation – Wirral Council officers will be able to propose future options for the long-term sustainable management of Hoylake beach.
Colin Clayton, Assistant Director – Parks and Environment, said,
We know that this issue polarises opinion in Hoylake and elsewhere – many people believe the decision to suspend interventions has led to a deterioration in the attractiveness and appeal of the beach. Others believe the natural development enhances the area.
However, it is important for everyone to understand that there are a range of issues to consider at Hoylake beach. It is critically important that we carefully consider all of these issues before we finally agree on a robust plan to enable the proper and sustainable management of this truly unique coastal area for the long-term, in a way that gains Natural England assent.