Planning application successful

The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) is to start up a new station at Burton Cliff, Lyme Bay, the first NCI lookout to be established in West Dorset, following a successful planning application made by Burton Bradstock Parish Council.

NCI currently operates 41 lookouts in England and Wales with new stations undergoing training at Torbay in Devon, Calshot Tower on the Solent and Porthdinllaen in North Wales.

NCI Lyme Bay will cover a section of the 80 miles of coast between existing lookouts at Portland Bill to the East and Exmouth to the West.

Surveys have shown that, in the last two years, there have been 15 serious incidents along the six miles of Chesil Beach alone. The West Bay harbourmaster and the Royal National Lifeboat Institute have also reported significant increases in small boat, windsurfer and other personal watercraft activity.

Since the Jurassic Coast became a World Heritage site, there has been a significant increase in the number of people using the beach and walking along the coastline.

In 2009 alone, NCI was involved in over 700 incidents. There is no substitute for a watchful pair of eyes to “spot, plot and report” on a distress flare, an overturned boat or a walker stranded on the cliffs which a computer and radar cannot do.

Land for the station at Burton Cliff has been provided by Mary-Lou Sturridge, formerly Managing Director of the famous Groucho Club in London.