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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 10:41 GMT
Fears for Britain's vanishing beaches
Margate beach
Poor sea defences are partly to blame for the problems
Many of Britain's beaches are vanishing due to global warming and poorly thought out sea defence schemes, warns the Good Britain Guide 2004.

Editor Alisdair Aird says sand is decreasing on several popular beaches, criticising shoreline management groups for not taking long-term solutions.

However former "ugly duckling" cities like Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Portsmouth have been praised for their emergence as swans in the book published on Thursday.

Mr Aird writes: "In recent years we have noted sand being lost from lots of popular beaches."

Beale Park, Berkshire (Bird centre of the year)
Dairyland, Cornwall (Farm park)
National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham (Aquarium)
Llechwedd Slate Caverns, north Wales (Adventure)
Trebah, Cornwall (Garden)
Bristol Zoo Gardens (Zoo)
Real Mary King's Close, Edinburgh (Oddity)
Bluebell Line, Sussex (Railway)
Nottingham's Caves (Tour)
Newcastle Discovery (Discovery)
Edinburgh Castle (Castle)
Alton Towers, Staffordshire (Theme Park)
Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds (Specialist museum)
North of England Open-Air Museum, Northumbria (Living museum)
Tatton Park, Cheshire (Historic house)
Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham (Gallery)
Horniman Museum, London (Overall museum)
Leeds (Visitor city)
Living Coasts, Devon (Newcomer)
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (Family attraction)
These include Hayling Island (Hampshire), parts of the Kent coast between Folkestone and Hythe, Happisburgh and Winterton-on-Sea (Norfolk), Minehead (Somerset), Filey (Yorkshire) and Rhossili and Oxwich on the Gower (Wales).

"This is usually part of the natural evolution of the coastline, changing gradually through the millennia," said Mr Aird.

"But sometimes it is because of ill-conceived sea defence schemes elsewhere.

"And global warming, raising sea levels and making inroads on coasts everywhere, is intensifying the threat to our beaches.

"Voluntary coastal defence groups have been drawing up shoreline management plans for each stretch of coast but the groups are voluntary and non-statutory.

"They are split between too many different authorities and have taken the Canute line, opting to try to hold the line against the sea, with very few planning for the managed retreat that in most places will be necessary as global warming raises sea levels."

However the good news for Britain comes from its towns and cities, especially those which have been "quietly building up an impressive roster of attractions" as they have given people a better choice of places to visit.

"We'd now add Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Glasgow and Birmingham to the list," he says.

Leed's Victorian Quarter
Before very long these former ugly ducklings might well be joined by places like Hull, Coventry, Sheffield, Leicester and Bradford
Alisdair Aird
"Before very long these former ugly ducklings might well be joined by places like Hull, Coventry, Sheffield, Leicester and Bradford."

Elsewhere in the guide, owners of Britain's historic houses and gardens are supported in their bid to have the cost of maintenance offset against their own tax bills by Mr Aird.

"It seems to us unfair that these places operating as tourist businesses can't count repairs and maintenance as a business expense, when virtually all other businesses can.

"Stately homes' tax works against the public interest. Making maintenance up to 40% more expensive than it would otherwise be, means that it is often put off for too long, until disaster looms, and an immense grant is needed instead."

Smaller catering outlets are highlighted as good examples in the food section of the book because efforts are made to source local suppliers and ingredients for their meals.

"But the bigger attractions, often run by national organisations, account for the vast majority of visits," he says.

"And these generally seem more interested in finding the cheapest suppliers, even overseas, than the local ones which visitors prefer."

Tourism industry targets Treasury
17 Nov 03  |  Business
Leeds voted favourite city
10 Sep 03  |  West Yorkshire
British beaches 'gone within 100 years'
21 Jul 03  |  Science/Nature
Record number of clean beaches
05 Jun 03  |  England
Local tarts and cheese on offer
14 May 03  |  Derbyshire

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