The project has the potential to be used at different sites
An ambitious project to restore badly eroded sand dunes using natural waste at a South Ayrshire beach has won a national award. The Council's Troon Sand Dune Restoration Project was recognised by the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC).
The project won the 'Best waste minimisation or prevention project' award and was also shortlisted for the 'Best new idea'. The Council received their award at a ceremony at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham.
South Ayrshire Council manages 15 beaches, many of which are major tourist attractions. Over the years the dunes network at Troon South beach had become badly eroded and posed a potential flood risk.
The Council identified the opportunity to apply to the Environmental watchdog SEPA to exempt the waste from being sent to landfill. The Waste Management team now recycles seaweed washed up on the shoreline to stabilise, restore and fertilise the sand dunes. This prevents 1,000 tonnes of waste from being sent to landfill annually, in a move which saves more than £84,000* a year in associated costs.
The restoration work, which began in April 2013, has reinstated a natural barrier, providing the local area with greater protection from storm damage, while also nurturing natural habitats, encouraging wildlife to return. The system has proved to be so successful it is now being used at Girvan beach and has the potential to be rolled out to other locations.
Councillor John McDowall, Sustainability and Environment portfolio holder for South Ayrshire Council, said the recognition was well deserved, "To have been recognised in two categories is a fantastic achievement for this innovative project, and I'd like to congratulate the team on their hard work in recent years which has helped to make this such a success.
"By rebuilding the natural defences we're also helping to keep waste from being sent to landfill, which is both environmentally and financially sound.
"We're currently monitoring the progress on Troon beach and we hope the idea will also prove to be a practical solution to others similar beaches in South Ayrshire."
The Troon Dune Restoration Project also won a silver award at the COSLA Excellence Awards 2016, which celebrate the best in local government, in the 'Strong and Sustainable Communities' category.
*1 tonne of beach waste sent to landfill carries a charge of £84.40