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Trow Quarry

Major building work has been completed on a project which was designed to protect part of the South Shields coastline from erosion.

A coastal defence system was designed in partnership with the National Trust and funded by the Environment Agency.

The scheme, which cost £1.8m, now shields a section of coast at Trow Quarry for future generations.

The barrier consists of a 'toe' rock revetment, which was placed in front of the coastal slope. The slope was then shaped to aid its stability, capped, and then planted with local marine species, including Festuca Rubra. Norwegian Granite was chosen as the preferred rock material for the scheme, due to its durability.

The project forms part of plans for the ongoing management of the coast in South Tyneside, which aims to meet the challenges of climate change.

Nick Dolan, National Trust Property Manager for The Leas, said: "I am pleased that the work has been completed, and my colleagues and I are happy with the results. The object was to form a sympathetic and flexible solution to the coastal erosion at Trow and this has been done well. It has been a lot of hard work, both in the planning and the site work, but proves the worth of partnership working to arrive at the best result, and the enhancement of this area of coast."

Coastal erosion

Coastal erosion is an effect of the sea breaking against the land, causing it to slowly wear-away.

This process usually happens over a long period of time, depending on the type and nature of the rock along the land's edge. Basically, the softer the rock, the more prone it is to erosion.

The land behind Graham Sands and Southern Bay was filled with waste material between the 1960s and 1970s, making it softer that the surrounding rock headlands and therefore at greater risk of erosion.

Health and safety

Trow Quarry is a former Magnesian Limestone quarry situated close to the coastal area. After quarrying activities in the area ceased, the site was been partially filled with domestic and industrial waste material throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and until the mid 1980s.

Recent investigations found that some of the fill material contained pollutants. Occasionally, due to the ongoing process of coastal erosion, this material could be periodically washed-out and become deposited on the adjoining beaches.

The National Trust carry out regular monitoring of the site and adjoining beaches. Any eroded material is inspected and, if necessary, removed from the beach and disposed of by specialist contractors.

With the coastal protection barrier now in place, it will prevent further erosion in this area for approximately 50 years.

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