Drone highlights coastal erosion in Minehead

Drones can be an incredibly useful tool for coastal surveys, as one hotel owner in Somerset found this week. The 16th Century Blue Anchor Pub and Hotel in Minehead is located on the cliff top, and after recent winter storms the hotel owner noticed large cracks had opened up in the ground. From ground level it is not always easy to see the extent of coastal erosion, but a drone flown above the Blue Anchor showed clearly that the building is in danger of tumbling into the sea. Somerset Live reported that “A drone video, which has been released by the hotel, shows an area of cliff to rear of the building. The footage clearly shows large, jagged cracks in the hotel’s garden, just feet away from the building.”

This type of visual information increases awareness of the serious extent of coastal erosion and the level of risk not just for the hotel owners but for local communities and national organisations monitoring environmental issues.  Erosion can also be monitored with repeated drone filming to see how quickly environmental changes are taking place.

As demonstrated in the above news report, drone surveys can be helpful in informing individual land and property owners, but can also reduce costs and improve efficiency in wider environmental projects.  By using drones to prepare for the movement of shingle in a coastal project, for example, the Environment Agency found that “… the entire project (from planning stages to product delivery) was completed in just 10 days, and the UK Environment Agency more than halved their survey costs … This enabled the team to deposit the appropriate amount of shingle where needed and ultimately avoid further erosion and damage to coastal infrastructure.” [Source: Dronesaferegister.org.uk]


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