A NEW probe into a loss of Southend’s foreshore, which some people fear could threaten Southend Pier and the town’s fishing industry, could be launched.

Southend Council is considering a new investigation into why the mudflats appear to be disappearing after an Environment Agency ruled out the new DP World superport in Stanford-le-Hope was the cause.

Yet several councillors still believe the digging of a four-metre deep channel down the Thames so the world’s largest container ships can reach the £1.5million port, is the root of the issue.

Martin Terry, spokesman for the Independent group of councillors, said: “It’s too much of a coincidence that it has happened at the same time as the dredging.

“We need to look at this again.

“We haven’t even had any of these giant ships come down.

“It’s posing a threat to the fishing industry.

“We may have a problem with the pier if it carries on.”

An independent 11-month study, costing £6,000, found no difference in the seasonal changes to the foreshore since the Dubai-based firm began dredging in 2010 - and mud levels are have very gradually increased over the past two decades.

But council officers, who have suggested heavy rainfall in early 2012 may have washed mud away, will look at the cost and scope of a new study after a cross-party group of councillors rejected July’s report on Monday.

Critics and fishermen claim the mudflats, which provides habitat to cockles and worms that feed fish and birds, have disappeared so much that only clay and stones are left between Chalkwell and the pier.

Retired fishermen Peter Wexham, a Lib Dem councillor for Leigh, said: “It’s a barren landscape, like a moonscape.

“Now the oysters have gone there is nothing there.”