Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Article From the Guardian Newspaper

Scotland's gullible politicians are the victims of a colossal Trump try-on
The tycoon's plans are about luxury holiday homes, not fairways. It will be an environmental outrage if they go ahead

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Simon Jenkins
The Guardian,

Friday June 13 2008

There is one thing missing in Manhattan: a decent pitch-and-putt course. There is nowhere you can pull out an old hickory mashie niblick, take a breath of fresh air, and chip the little monster 30 feet into the cup. I reckon the most convenient place would be on Fifth Avenue, say at the corner of 56th Street, say number 725. You need only bulldoze it flat, lay down some grass, give it a light roller and off you go, a world-class putting facility.

The trouble is some reactionary Hebridean wetback has a hut on the spot and won't sell. He says Trump Tower has been in his family for years and has been listed by the city of New York as a site of special anthropological interest, long used for marrying and counting money. Damn your putting green, says he. Have you no respect for heritage?

You have to feel sorry for Donald Trump. He came to Scotland this week to spend 97 seconds being pictured in front of his mother Mary Macleod's birthplace on the island of Lewis, and then flew his private jet across Scotland to an inquiry into his plan for a billion-pound property development by the sea at Balmedie. That the site should be occupied by a cussed fisherman and a nature reserve of European importance was the kind of thing, as George Bush would say, "I leave to my lawyers".

Trump's project, which has some local businessmen understandably salivating, is to build a five-star hotel, 500 houses, 950 timeshare flats and something called Trump Boulevard, with two 18-hole golf courses next door. Like all such projects, the publicists talk of creating 300 jobs, then 400 jobs, then 6,000 jobs, and investing £300m or £400m or, if you like, £1bn. On any showing this is a massive development on what is a beautiful and deserted three-mile stretch of Scottish coast.

Whenever Trump has a scheme he talks up golf, the famous "Trump sweetener". Here he claims to have surveyed 201 links sites (golf courses on sandy shores) and concluded that the Menie estate covering the Forevan sand dunes near Balmedie was the best.
There is no question that the 1,400 acres of beaches, grassy hillocks, burns, dells and sweeps of reed-tufted sand are spectacular. They constitute a rare "dynamic dune" system in which sand moves under a 400m "dome" according to prevailing winds, to Scottish Natural Heritage "the largest and most superlative example in north-western Europe". It is a coastal ecology comparable with the Lyme Undercliffs or Portland Bill in Dorset.

Trump does not quarrel with this. He admits to being "overwhelmed" by the majesty of the site, by "the valleys of the dunes, the access to the ocean, the views of the ocean, the elevations". He confesses that "I have never seen such an unspoilt and dramatic seaside landscape". Which is precisely what makes it "the perfect setting" for a mini-city and six-storey hotel with customised boulevard. The rich have no time for irony.

While I wish Trump no special harm, I suggest that his supporters look him up on the Dealscape website. Here they would find their hero specialising in talking up world-class golf courses, some of which mysteriously change into housing estates and casinos or just vanish. Aberdeen is not alone but is running alongside projects at Meadowlands, New Jersey, Fresno, California, and others. In all these cases Trump seems to attract furious opposition.

At Balmedie he encountered Michael Forbes, fisherman and smallholder with a mother in a caravan, immovable from his isolated house next to the projected Trump Boulevard. When Trump finally offered him £750,000 to get out, a supportive Cambridge businessman and ecologist, Tony Bowman, offered him £1.5m to stay.

Then the British taxpayer subsidised the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group to locate 33 giant wind turbines offshore, plumb in front of Trump's "magnificent view of the ocean". Finally the local council's planning committee rejected the plan on the chairman's casting vote. His decision so enraged the pro-Trump faction that it engineered his sacking.

The rejection was instantly called in for public inquiry by the Scottish executive, after much backstairs shenanigans with the first minister, Alex Salmond. The Scottish executive had already declared Trump "thoroughly good business for all concerned" and even appointed him "ambassador for Scotland", thus hopelessly compromising the public inquiry on which Salmond will have to adjudicate.

Trump's appearance in Aberdeen on Tuesday was reminiscent of his British doppelganger, Alan Sugar, whom he plays in the American version of The Apprentice. He was accused of not reading his own environmental assessment, which was hardly surprising as it told him to build well away from the dunes. He had promised to "stabilise" them, which is just what you should not do to a dynamic dune.

Told that his plan covered a designated site of special scientific interest, he reversed his former eulogy and declared them "sort of disgusting", covered in beach garbage and dead wildlife. He implied that 25,000 birds had been slaughtered by golf-hating local savages, whereas he had "received many, many environmental accolades and awards".

As a last straw Trump has been told that the dunes enjoy a right to roam. He says this is out of the question. People wanting to "sunbathe" would hardly do so when they might be "smashed by a golf ball". Anyway, if local people did not like his billion dollars he would take them elsewhere.
The proper response to the case of Trump v the Balmedie dunes is to say that, under devolution, it is Scotland's business. The massed ranks of Scottish nature and wildlife bodies may declare the project "damaging, unacceptable, irreversible and not outweighed by any overriding strategic need or national interest".

They may say the destruction of the dunes makes a mockery of Scotland's pledge to promote biodiversity and "contravenes almost every planning policy, environment policy and government strategy in the national canon". They may argue that the development could perfectly well proceed behind the dunes, were Trump not so obsessed with getting his hands on the coastal strip.

The truth is that Scotland is a victim of another colossal Trump try-on. This project is primarily about luxury holiday homes, not fairways. Scotland's gullible politicians have been taken in by a New York billionaire with big shoulders and a rolling gait. He boasts (in Vanity Fair) that "if Jack Nicklaus tried to do this he'd have zero chance ... but I am who I am and my mother is Scottish".
If that is what Scotland wants - and hundreds of miles of Ireland's coast have been wrecked in like manner - then that is what Scotland should get. But every environmental outrage committed in the name of quick commercial gain, whether claimed for "jobs" or "investment" or "modernisation", is later regretted, from the Algarve to the Amazon forest. I am sure Trump could persuade Salmond of the "jobs" in a Trump Tower on Edinburgh's Royal Mile.
The point of environmental planning is not to capitulate to short-term market forces but to channel them to the public good. There can be no public good in building over the Balmedie dunes.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Coastal Zone Management End Test

For the end test we were asked, to construct a list of conflicts occuring in the coastal zone on a global scale. A list of participants in the conflict and an analysis of potential resolutions. I started by statiing that some of the main conflicts occuring are mainly tourism and leisure, pollution, dredging, fishing and general human impact. on a natural note climate change and sea level rise, and natural disasters are the main causes of conflict.

With regard to the list of participants I included the general public and those working in the coastal zone such as fisherman and local tourism businesses like dive schools.
As well as governments local councils, Agricultural professionals, scientists and several of the global organisations, like WSPA, Green Peace, National Trust and the MCA.

After I constructed the lists I drew up a spider diagram, with conflict and resolution as my central point, from which I branched out with key titles such as: pollution, leisure and tourism, litter, dredging and others.

From there I gave an example for each title of a specific cicumstance that each of the titles was effecting the coastal zone of a particular place. I then Gave ways they have resolved, them or are attempting to resolve them.

Finally I gave a short list of possible resolutions on a general scale, for each subject heading, based purely on my own understanding of each area and what I have previous researched on the subject of coastal zone management.

Monday, 12 May 2008


Vincent May Professor of coastal Geomorphology, put together a report in 2007 titled, IMPACTS ON BEACH AND CLIFF STABILITY ASSOCIATED WITH EXTRACTION OF SEDIMENTS FROM BEACHES AND OFFSHORE: UNDERSTANDING THE COMMUNITIES' RESPONSES TO PERCEIVED RISK" after a 4 day meeting took place in July 2007 to discuss a range of coastal concerns. In this report Vincent tried to assertain the nature and cause of the level of erosion happening around the British shoreline.

Having had this Dilemma since the 1900's a report by the Royal Commission on Coast Erosion (RCCE) in 1911 stated that the removal of sand and gravel from beaches appeared to cause an acceleration in the level of erosion.
Jump back to the present day and the level of aggregate dredging has risen dramatically. However the British Government seem convinced that although they are potentially removing thousands of tonnes of sand and stone from the seabed they see that as having no effect on the near by coastlines.

Bizarrely enough reading the report, seems to suggest that although this is occurring the evidence to conclusively say that marine aggregate dredging is contributing to the localised erosion of coastal zones does not exist.

Mullion Harbour

Located just North of the Lizard on the South coast of Cornwall, Mullion is one of the most attractive villages in the county. Because of this it attracted visitors from all around. Mullion harbour once a small fishing harbour now home to a few sailing vessels far from the commercialisation of Falmouth.

In 2004 a study of Mullion harbour was conducted to determine the viability of maintaining and protecting this picturesque place, from the horrors of winter storms and the ever impending fate of sea level rise.

from this 3 choices were presented to the mullion stake holder group which was set up by the National Trust.

The first choice of constructing an offshore breakwater was immediately dissmissed as being to costly and environmentally damaging.

The second option of maintaining and repairing the harbour walls and current defences was not dismissed, but seen as a solution to the temporary situation and thus combining it with the third option of leaving it to slowly fall away. This strategy will be adopted by the trust when the cost of annual maintenence is deemed no longer viable.

In 2006 work was carried out costing £150,000 to repair and restore the Harbour after the winter storms. From then until now the Harbour has been maintained and is still going strong.

Coastal Defences

Types of Coastal Defence.

Groynes are cross-shore structures designed to reduce longshore transport on open beaches or to deflect nearshore currents within an estuary. On an open beach they are normally built as a series to influence a long section of shoreline that has been nourished or is managed by recycling. In an estuary they may be single structures.
Rock is often favoured as the construction material, but timber or gabions can be used for temporary structures of varying life expectancies (timber: 10-25 years, gabions: 1-5 years). Groynes are often used in combination with revetments to provide a high level of erosion protection.

Sea wall
Seawalls are impermeable structures designed to provide a defence against the action of the sea. They are often made of concrete and vary in shape depending on when they were designed and the local conditions. Some will have vertical walls that tends to result in spray coming over the wall and can have a detrimental effect upon the beach by reducing its height. Others will have a slope leading up to a curved wall that is designed to reduce the size of the wave reaching the wall and then to reflect it back out to sea.

Riprap/Rock Armour
Large boulders, of 10 tonnes or more, are piled up along the shoreline to form a type of sea wall.
The rocks are dumped on top of eachother leaving gaps between them that allow water through. This disperses the energy of the waves and reduces their erosional power. They can be very effective.
he boulders must be large, strong and resistant to erosion. Granite and basalt are often used. Small or weak rocks would not be able to withstand the impact from the waves and would quickly be eroded.

Gabion Groynes
Large steel or stainless steel mesh cages that are filled with rocks.
They run down the beach, at right angles to the coastline.
They function in a similar way to wooden groynes.
Expected life span of 20 – 25 years if made from steel because they will rust. Stainless steel ones last much longer

Beach Nourishment
This replaces beach or cliff material that has been removed by erosion or longshore drift. Sand is either brought in from elsewhere, or transported back along a beach, usually once a year.In tourist areas this is often done during the spring after the winter storms and before the tourists arrive to enjoy the beach. Beach nourishment is a relatively inexpensive option it requires constant maintenance. The annual costs are lower than installing hard engineering options, but to keep replacing the beach material as it is washed away requires annual expenditure.

Managed Retreat (also doing nothing)
Engineers do nothing and the coast is allowed to suffer erosion, deposition and flooding naturally. This is an option considered when the land is of low value and there are no significant risks to the people. It is, of course, very inexpensive in the short term although if land erodes there may be a need to compensate people for the loss of businesses, land and homes.

The Coastal Zone

Uk territorial waters

Baseline:- Lowest astronomical tide, Anything behind baseline is classed as internal waters.

Territorial Waters:- 12 nautical miles(nm) from the baseline, countries duristictions still apply here.

Contiguous Zone:- 12 nm from territorial waters, country has limited duristiction.

Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ):- 200nm from baseline, can be extended to continental shelf. This is the region where exploitation of resources occurs.

What is the Coastal Zone??
The coastal Zone is defined as the region from the coastline potentially up to the 200 nautical mile line.

There is debate as to the true nature of the coastal zone as ecologically most life consists within the first 12nm of the baseline. and on the foreshore and shoreline, however due to the legislative process a country has rights up to the 200nm marker meaning that potentially they have to manage that entire distance.

Natural Processes

Climate Change

The true effects of climate change on the coastal environment are not accurately known at this time, because scientists can only guess at the likely impacts based on current global trends and past data configured from tests ranging from examining ice strata using core samples, to monitoring control/indicator species to see how they are being affected.

A good example of this would be the Pink Sea Fan found primarily in the Meditteranean region its upper limits are along the southern coasts of Cornwall and Wales. There is much debate as to the true extent climate change will affect coastal communities if it does at all.

Predicted Sea Level rise. The link to the left shows the result of sea level rise based on 7m, 13m and 84m rises in sea level.


The typical erosion on the shoreline is due to tidal and wave action. Wave erosion occurs when deep water waves hit the shore with full force, also the moving of sediments and rocks along the shoreline can cause erosion to occur.

Hydraulic action tends to occur around cliff faces and Headlands as a mixture of water and air are forced in to cracks in the rock face, forcing the rock to splinter and shard. This can occur on the shoreline but in areas of rocky shore rather than sandy beaches. The sandy shore tends to suffer from what is termed long shore drift or a barrage of dumping waves if the topography of the sea floor is such to create them.


Longshore current is produced as water flows parallel to coastline. Swash and backwash

Rip Currents are produced when water piles up in surf zones and flows seaward, generally perpendicular to the coast.

Daily rise/fall of surfaces of oceans/lakes due to gravitational pull of the
Moon/Sun on the Earth– also due to force created as Earth spins on its axis

Flood tides- elevate sea surface that cause shoreline to move inland

Ebb Tides- low sea surface that cause shoreline to move seaward