September 18 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
One of west Suffolk’s most famous views is being marred by “tacky and inappropriate” yellow warning signs, nature lovers have claimed.
The Environment Agency has installed the danger signs next to a stream on Sudbury Common Lands to warn of ‘strong currents and fast flowing water’.
But common lands ranger Adrian Walters has described them as “disgraceful and unnecessary” in a picturesque area which is a county wildlife site with local nature reserve status.
Meanwhile Common Lands charity trustee May Berkouwer said the signs - next to a bridge joining Great Freeman’s Common with Great Fullingpit Meadow - were “an eyesore in one of the most restful iconic points of the meadows”.
Last night the Environment Agency said the signs were to ensure the safety of visitors to the site.
But Mr Walters said warning signs were simply not needed.
He added: “They are completely pointless at that location.
“One is pointing the wrong way and talks about fast current, which at this time of year is complete overkill.
“We don’t have any signage of this kind out on the meadow. It is tacky, inappropriate and disgraceful and we want the Environment Agency to take them down immediately.”
Ms Berkouwer, who frequently walks across the bridge, said she could not believe her eyes when she saw the signs, which “completely mar the view” of the meadows.
She added: “It’s health and safety gone crazy. For 99% of the year, this part of the river is the quietest most peaceful of old English scenes, and even a toddler can paddle there. I’d describe it as a gently flowing stream rather than dangerously fast flowing.
“On a very few days of the year there is a flood and this part is unsafe. But anyone with an ounce of common sense and eyes in their heads will know not to stand on the edge of the bridge on those rare occasions.”
A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said they had recently installed two signs at Sudbury water meadows to ensure the safety of visitors to the site when the flood gates were opened further upstream.
She added: “At times of high rainfall, such as that over the recent winter, we open Sudbury Croft Gates to prevent flooding to people and property.
“The water meadows will take the extra water but we are keen that no-one is put at risk during this process and there is no other way of warning them.
“The signs have to be large enough to be seen by people as they approach the bridge and robust enough to withstand the pressure from cattle.”