WORK is starting on environment-friendly improvements on Swansea beach to help keep shifting sands at bay.
Every year the council has to shift hundreds of tons of naturally wind-blown sand from the beach that ends up on the prom and the nearby Oystermouth Road.
Now steps are being taken that will not only help reduce the amount of sand shifting off the shores but also create a cluster of new sand dunes and protect the natural environment.
Logs and tree trunks blown over in recent storms have been brought in to act as natural windbreaks on the beach near Brynmill Lane to help reduce the amount of sand getting picked up and carried into places where it causes a nuisance to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
The council is also planning to install 240m of chestnut fencing in the area to help trap sand that would end up on the roads and pavements instead to create a new section of sand dunes in the area.
Retaining the sand on the beach will help attract marram grass and other plants, maintaining and encouraging natural habitats for plants, insects, birds and other wildlife.
Andrew Stevens, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, said: “Wind-blown sand on the prom and Oystermouth Road is a natural price we pay for having an amazing miles-long beach we all love and enjoy literally on our city’s doorstep.
“We do all we can to protect this wonderful environment and it’s why we always pick litter by hand on the beach rather than use mechanical devices which would risk affecting habitats.
“It’s a constant struggle with nature to prevent sand being blown around which is why we’ve brought in an independent ecologist to work with our nature conservation, highways and cleansing teams to work out the best way to deal with it.
“There is no way you can stop nature doing what it does completely, but we’re anticipating the work will help reduce the problem and benefit communities both of wildlife and people.”
He added: “Using chestnut fencing to trap and create sand dunes is something the council did near the Civic Centre west car park in 2016. It has worked so well in creating a new cluster of sand dunes and reducing the amount of sand getting on to the prom and the main road that we’re planning to install more fencing there too in the coming months.”
Cllr Stevens said beach work recently completed included an annual clearance of sand build-ups against the promenade wall. Sand was relocated to the front edge of dunes to the west of Civic centre and evened out.
Some of the covered sand was also used to fill in gaps and hollows in the dunes to help promote growth of the grasses that support the dunes.
The new work agreed between an independent expert and the council’s nature conservation team will involve installing barriers using short sections of large diameter tree trunks from storm-damaged trees on the beach near the Brynmill Lane junction with Oystermouth Road.
The measure aims to reduce the amount of sand blowing through the beach entrance opposite the Brynmill Lane junction by diverting some windblown sand to the sea side of the dune line.
Other barriers in the area are also being introduced and the new arrangements will be monitored over time to assess their effectiveness and changes made if necessary.