Friends of White Park Bay hear threats to world’s beaches

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PROFESSOR Andrew Cooper from the University of Ulster gave a talk entitled “The World’s Beaches” to The Friends of White Park Bay recently.

The talk, in the Conference Centre, Sheep Island Hostel, Ballintoy, was accompanied by a slideshow illustrating beaches from all over the world. Some of Ireland’s finest beaches were shown including White Park Bay, which Professor Cooper considered as beautiful as any beach in the world.

Professor Cooper began by defining what a beach is and how it forms. He went on to explain how beaches left in their natural state can absorb all that nature throws at them.

He then considered the threats to the world’s beaches today. These, he explained, are not storms and hurricanes, or even climate change and sea level rise. A beach in its natural state can absorb all these and reform itself.

Professor Cooper said that over-development of hotels, apartments, tourist facilities and homes within dune systems, close to the beachhead, together with attempts to engineer and protect beaches with “hard” defences is what has lead to the loss of many beaches all over the world.

The talk was followed by a short presentation when Debra Dickson, who is a Student Placement with the National Trust, donated £100 to the Friends Group. Debra recently won the award “Miss Earth - Girls4Trees Community Project Ambassador” and chose to donate some of her winnings to the Friends Group.

The Friends of White Park Bay is an independent group supported by the National Trust. The group aims to support the conservation of White Park Bay and to increase understanding of this spectacularly beautiful area. They are running a series of events throughout the year.

For more information on The Friends of White Park Bay contact Lisa McCaughan, at the National Trust’s North Coast Office, 028 2073 3327.