Sea embankment project in Mae Ram Phueng beach in Bang Saphan district back on track after talks

Construction News
High waves crash against a concrete embankment on a beach in Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan. (File photo: Chaiwat Sardyaem)

Sea embankment project in Mae Ram Phueng beach in Bang Saphan district back on track after talks

Conservationists and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Prachuap Khiri Khan have withdrawn their protests against the construction of a controversial sea embankment at Mae Ram Phueng beach in Bang Saphan district.

The decision means authorities can now resume the project’s construction after a year-long hiatus, which was prompted by the protests.

Kittiphong Sookpakkul, deputy governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan, led talks on the plan recently.

Both sides of the debate, including conservationists and Bang Saphan’s residents, attended the talks, he said.

Those who had been opposed to the embankment’s construction said they would allow the authorities to continue work but required the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning (DPT) to adapt the design to support biodiversity on the beach.

The authorities now need to present the design blueprint to both sides for further discussion, he said.

After Mae Ram Phueng beach was damaged by erosion caused by Tropical Storm Pabuk in 2018, Mae Ram Phueng Municipal Office proposed budgetary spending on construction to the DPT for the third time in 2021.

The DPT provided 79.94 million baht from fiscal 2021 for the office as a budget for the first phase of construction, which included 900 metres of the embankment.

The plan was set to finish in September 2023. However, six months after the contract began, disgruntled residents filed a complaint.

The Beach of Life Conservational Group, who disagree with construction of the embankment, said it might destroy the beach’s biodiversity.

The group also said the embankment could worsen erosion on the beach, citing cases in Songkhla’s Sai Kaew beach and Phetchaburi’s Cha Am beach.

They said that only 200 metres of Mae Ram Phueng beach had been eroded, so the embankment was not really necessary.

According to a source, construction has been halted for a year due to the longstanding rift and both sides’ inability to find common ground.