THE shifting sands of Instow have set a gritty problem for the local authorities. Talks have been taking place on Instow beach on how to overcome the problem of the sands spilling on to the adjacent footpath, roadway and even into homes. Current problems

THE shifting sands of Instow have set a gritty problem for the local authorities.

Talks have been taking place on Instow beach on how to overcome the problem of the sands spilling on to the adjacent footpath, roadway and even into homes.

Current problems centre on an area between the bus stop and the edge of the dunes, where accumulation of sand has almost topped the roadside wall and winds send it across the footpath and roadway.

Large sums of money have previously been spent reducing the height of the sand behind other areas of the main promenade wall, but it is building up again.

Local council representatives met on the beach with Andy Bell, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Co-ordinator and Countryside Service Manager, in search of a possible beach management plan that would provide a more permanent and less costly system.

Parish clerk Roger Jacob said sand blowing over the wall was really quite dangerous, covering the footpath and forcing people such as mothers with prams into the roadway.

Parish councillor and beach cleaner Peter Cook said he regularly scraped the beach with a tractor, but at the problem point the sand was now just too much to move.

"The county council has carried out two substantial clearings, but the sand is already coming back," he said. "Where the sea wall was at one time 12 feet above the beach, it is now back to four or five feet. In the winter the south west winds take it right across the road and into people's houses."

County councillor Rodney Cann said the county had spent £10,000 reducing the level of the beach and taking the sand around the corner to another part of the beach, but within four years it was back again.

Some years ago 13 steps down to the sands have been uncovered, but they had been covered again. The county could not be expected to keep pouring money into something that did not seem to be achieving its objective.

Andy Bell told the Gazette that they were working to find a form of beach and dune management. As far as possible they were looking for a natural solution, he said. The sand was an important part of the coastal and estuary system and coastal defences and the beach was in a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which prevented extraction of the sand.

They could look at some form of sand trapping on the dunes or other means of keeping beach levels lower, he said. Talks would be held with owners and councils to agree options