Placeholder image

An independent strategic coastal partnership

West Bay Coastal Defence Improvements


Coastsnap West Bay

Coastsnap cradles have recently been installed by the Plymouth Coastal Observatory at the two coastal defence sites, West Beach and East Beach. These are in place to encourage members of the public to take a snapshop of the two sites and capture the current state of the shoreline, be it eroding or accreting, overall feeding into the monitoring of West Bay Coastal Defence. This will hopefully increase public participation in coastal monitoring, raise awareness and provide a free data source.

Read more about the Coastsnap project here

Upload your photos on the Plymouth Coastal Observatory website.

Coastsnap, East Beach

Progress update October 2019

All  sea defence work to help protect West Bay from flooding has been completed at both East Beach and West Beach.

On East Beach a large rock revetment made up of 20,000 tonnes of rock was buried along the line of the shingle ridge. This will reduce the frequency of flooding from storms.

On West Beach a new rock groyne was built near the pier, extra beach shingle was also imported. A flood wall has also been built along the Esplanade, which will also help reduce the risk of flooding.  Work on the wall was suspended during the school holiday season to minimise disruption, but ‘facing work’ was restarted last month.

During the works 40,000 tonnes of granite was used, as well as rocks as large as 10 tonnes.  Engineers have cleared the site. The Esplanade has fully re-opened.

Progress update 5th September 2019

Works at East Beach are now complete.

At West Beach, the contractor BMM JV Ltd has returned to site to complete final cladding and capping of the new wall on the esplanade with Purbeck stone. The Esplanade is closed to traffic (closure commenced on 2nd September) until the works are complete, which is estimated to be by mid-October. The road closure is necessary to maintain public safety and ensure safe working conditions for the workforce; the Environment Agency and Dorset Council apologise for any inconvenience whilst these important works are completed.

There is a live webcam at West Bay which you can view here, you may be able to see the works happening!

Advice to swimmers and other water users

Both East Beach and West Beach are dangerous places to swim due to the exposed nature of these locations, the beach steepness and the localised currents and risks associated with the harbour and beack cotrol rock structures. There may be some localised changes to swimming conditions following the works which are currently under construction. The RNLI advises water users to always swim at a lifeguarded beach. This year RNLI lifeguards will be operational at East Beach, and able to give further advice, from Saturday 6th July through to Sunday 8th September, 10am to 6pm, 7 days a week.

How do I find out more?

Queries, requests and comments may also be sent to

For media enquiries, please call 0800 917 9271 or contact

The contractor, BMMJV, will keep the site noticeboards up to date. This can be found at the site compounds of East Beach and West Beach.

Statement from the Environment Agency – West Bay Coastal Improvements Scheme


Previous Meetings

The Dorset Coast Forum have worked closely with the Environment Agency to involve the community in consultations related to the coastal defence works. Work has been carried out with the local community to look at new improvements to the coastal defences to help prevent flooding in three key areas – east beach, west beach and parkdean embankment.  This has allowed the community to give their opinions and comments, which the Environment Agency have listened to and acted upon where possible during the planning stages.

The first step was a consultation event which was held on the 18 March 2016 to make West Bay and Bothenhampton communities aware of the issue, understand the risks and give comments about future possible options. The project team then set to work on considering feasible options for the area with the input of the comments from the event. The documents below detail the FAQs and responses to the questions and comments given at this consultation event.

 Frequently Asked Questions – March 2016

 Responses to March 2016 Public Consultation Questions

This was followed by a consultation event on the 20 October 2016 to look at the different options and get feedback from the community on the most and least preferred options. Below is the presentation of the options given at this event.

West Bay Coastal Defence Presentation – 20th October 2016

On the 23 March 2017 an all day drop in event was held for the community to view the proposed schemes and talk to staff.

On the 19th July 2018 another drop in event took place to allow the community to view how the proposed schemes have progressed and to talk to staff. The response to comments from this consultation can be found in the document below.

Responses to July 2018 Public Consultation Comments

A drop in event was held on Wednesday 13th February 2019 for the community to find out more about the planned coastal defence works for the engineers and project managers. 


Project Background

Following the storms in 2014, which flooded several areas of West Bay, the Environment Agency and Dorset Council have identified this popular coastal town as an area which requires improvements to its coastal defences.

Our Funders