Vulnerable plans to rebuild railway from Dover to Folkestone

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UPDATE: 1st March 2015

Work to stabilise the sea wall at beach level is now complete. Network Rail have confirmed that they now need to obtain a licence from the Marine Management Organisation to carry out any further works and are working closely with them to secure approval.

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Plans to rebuild part of the railway from Dover to Folkestone following storm damage may not guarantee against future vulnerability from dredging the Goodwin Sands.

The line has been closed since Christmas Eve 2015 after storms lowered the level of Shakespeare Beach in Dover by almost two metres in the lead up to the festive season. The foot of the sea wall was exposed to the full force of the sea, leading to sink holes appearing in the railway above and damage to the sea wall.

Dover Harbour Board is currently considering dredging the Goodwin Sands, for sourcing aggregate for the approved Dover Western Docks Revival development. The sands which are around six miles out from Deal have a complex system of strong currents, complicated tidal flows and constantly change shape.

An employee for Network Rail who wishes to remain anonymous, said “we are working on a long-term solution to the damage however any environmental impact from potential dredging of the Goodwin Sands is not part of the design teams remit”.

Although the area has been dredged before, the amount of sand and gravel would be more than a third of the total amount extracted previously, between 1976 and 1998. The proposed dredging would take place over an 11.6 sq km area on the south part of the sands, in two phases, the first starting in August this year and ending in November 2017, and the second from March 2022 to August 2022. The amount to be extracted would be 2.5 million m3 (tonnes).

Adjuvate Advenas, Bex