Steps leading to a large section of Aberdeen beach have been closed due to sand erosion caused by recent storms.
An estimated 140,000 tonnes has been displaced by the wind and tides leaving a two-metre gap to the ground in some places.
The council said there is a risk of potential accidents due to the huge drops created at the bottom of the lower promenade steps and a risk for emergency services if they had to try to reach people from the promenade.
Signs will be erected warning beach users that there is no safe access or egress from the beach within the above area. Some of these temporary signs may be replaced over the coming weeks with more permanent signs.
Beach levels fluctuate almost on a daily basis and big changes can occur overnight as the result of storm action. Aberdeen City Council staff usually check sand levels on a monthly basis but they will now be checked bi-weekly.
Aberdeen City Council operational delivery convener Councillor John Wheeler said: “We’re very aware how popular the beach is, especially now the school summer holidays have just started.
“We cannot place residents and visitors in danger where they may have an accident trying to get down onto the beach where large amounts of sand have been washed away, or where the emergency services might not be able to get to people easily.
“We hope the sand will return naturally as the sand levels fluctuate almost on a daily basis and our staff will check them twice a week to monitor the situation.”
Although the sand levels do recover over time, Aberdeen beach is subject to a net loss of sand with the prevailing drift from south to north and may require periodical recharging.
Should further erosion occur, Aberdeen City Council may have to consider:
· Replenishing the beach with further sand;
· Moving sand from the north end (if feasible);
· Placing rock armour in front of the wall;
· Extending the access ramps;
· Or a combination of the above.
Work is on-going with Aberdeen City Council structural, coastal and flooding engineers and consultants to develop a long-term strategy for the beach and associated sea defences.