Cornwall Council has agreed to remove many of the dead trees 'planted' at Porthtowan Dunes after a public outcry over the scheme.

A previous bid to remove dead Christmas trees by residents furious at the 'destruction' of the beach at Porthtown was stopped by by Cornwall Council after after a council officer said the authority would "consider its options regarding taking action to prevent such unauthorised interference and any appropriate recompense".

The dead trees were "planted" in the dune after the plan was cooked up by Cornwall Council with the support of local councillor Joyce Duffin.

The project was a bid to capture sand and allow grass to grow, however locals say the spiky additions are driving trade away, are an 'eyesore' on the popular beach, and are simply not working.

Residents say that many of the trees blew away in the winter gales, littering the village roads and gardens. Adding that those that remain are leaving sharp splinters of wood and pine needles scattered throughout the golden sand, creating a real hazard for bare feet.

The result is an "Alice-in-Wonderland's nightmare battle defences and the view of the sea is hidden by an orange plantation of dead trees, some still with tinsel twinkling in the spring sunshine".

Community Group members and Cornwall Council have recently been working together on agreeing a set of interim actions for the area.

The council says these actions "look to continue to protect the vulnerable front of the dune by utilising some of the Christmas trees in a few tighter packed rows covering a smaller overall area of the dune".

Adding that the trees will be "partially buried but with some left above the ground to continue to trap wind blown sand and to help to protect and enhance the area as an important natural sea defence".

Any trees that are not reused will be removed from the area and recycled.

The removal will be carried out immediately while a full survey and long term management plan for the area is being undertaken. Once the report has been completed, it will then allow long term actions for the area to be agreed.

The Group and the Council have also agreed on the following measures:

  • To redistribute sand off the green behind the dune, alongside the sleeper wall and some off the back of the main dune area resulting in a reduction of the dune’s current height. All of the sand will be put back onto the beach and spread evenly above the mean high water mark.
  • There will be some fencing around this area to offer protection from footfall but a pedestrian route through it will be created. Vegetation will be planted as soon as appropriate species are identified, which will help bind the sand together, stabilising the dune. Signage explaining the measures in place will be developed and placed on key access points onto the beach.

A spokesman for the Porthtowan Dunes Community Group said: “We are pleased that our plan has been accepted and Cornwall Council and the Group can now move forward to re-establishing our beautiful beach, green and dunes .”

Joyce Duffin, Councillor for Mount Hawke and Portreath said “It is great to have an agreed plan from the Porthtowan Dunes Community Group and Cornwall Council. Interim works can now be carried out, hopefully starting within the next few weeks. I know everyone will be very happy to see some of the sand moved and put back onto the beach. The results of the independent study will then create a long-term management plan for the area.”

The group and Cornwall Council will continue to work together over the next few weeks to put the funding in place, seek quotations and agree a start date for the works.