Cliff Stability Study Starts At Barton-On-Sea

A £300,000 project is starting at Barton-On-Sea in the New Forest to see how unstable the cliffs are.

New Forest District Council (NFDC) is set to begin drilling boreholes on the cliff top and undercliff as part of the study.

Originally planned for autumn/winter 2012, these investigations had to be deferred for several months due to increased rainfall over the winter period. The work can now proceed again as planned and will last for around six weeks, weather permitting.

Portfolio holder for the environment, Cllr Edward Heron said:

"These important monitoring works will help to identify options for the future management of the cliffs at Barton-on-Sea."

Following the Poole and Christchurch Bays Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) review in 2010, the council received government funding of £300,000 to carry out the necessary investigation works on the cliffs, which are within the Highcliffe to Milford-on-Sea site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

The site investigations will consist of installing a number of boreholes along the cliff in order to sample, test and monitor the subsurface geology with the intention of gaining a better understanding of the geological properties, stability and role of groundwater within the cliffs.

A total of 17 boreholes will be drilled to a depth of 20 to 35 metres and geotechnical monitoring instruments will be fitted inside each one. NFDC will monitor the data for around 18 months and continue to monitor slope movement and rainfall data. Separate subsurface geology surveys will also be undertaken.