Beauty spot's cure lies across the pond

AN ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner from the USA has suggested an alternative way of saving a north Essex beautyspot which looks set to crumble into the sea.The Naze peninsula, at Walton-on-the-Naze, is disappearing into the sea at the rate of two metres a year.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner from the USA has suggested an alternative way of saving a north Essex beautyspot which looks set to crumble into the sea.

The Naze peninsula, at Walton-on-the-Naze, is disappearing into the sea at the rate of two metres a year. Scientists have predicted it will be completely lost in 20-30 years, with the Napoleonic Naze tower collapsing into the sea as it goes.

Over the years hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent on schemes to protect the cliffs from the ravages of the sea and save this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with rare birds and wildlife attracting thousands of visitors every year.

The eroding cliffs are revealing fossils which are so important the area has been declared a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest by English Nature, which further complicates any schemes to prevent the Naze from crumbling away.


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Tendring District Council is this week expected to take the unpopular decision to let nature take its course and allow the Naze to be claimed by the sea.

Councillors have been given the results of a three-year study by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, which reports that any scheme to shore up and extend the sea wall in order to save the Naze would be too costly, and the best course of action, in line with current coast and flood protection thinking is to allow it to erode.

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But Jerry Berne, director of Sustainable Shorelines, based in North Carolina, USA, has suggested a solution that would save the Naze forever.

He said pioneering technology developed by Holmberg Technologies, based in Florida, could be an answer to coastal erosion in Essex.

Holmberg Technologies claims coastal erosion is not a natural phenomenon, but is caused by manmade intervention such as shipping channels and harbours altering natural beach formation.

The company uses "undercurrent stabiliser technology" to neutralise the impact of dredged channels on beaches, by putting specially manufactured textile sausage-shaped stabilisers underwater.

The technology has been used successfully in Florida and the Great Lakes.

Mr Berne, who monitors reports on coastal erosion across the world, has been in contact with English Heritage and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about this option and others to save our coasts.

He said: "As director of Sustainable Shorelines, I am concerned any time we lose sections of our shorelines - and we are losing these by the mile. Much of this loss is directly attributed to man's activities.

"As such, we must mitigate this environmental damage as we would any other manmade problem. We are losing our coastal habitats and the ecosystems these sustain. We are also losing our coastal cultural heritage and present day real estate."

He added: "As the loss of a clod of earth diminishes Europe, so it diminishes all of us. We cannot allow our coastal resources to be lost to an irrational and irresponsible policy of "retreat". Time is short, sand is short and the water rises."

Chairman of the Naze Protection Society David Gager said he would pass on the details of Holmberg Technologies to Tendring District Council but did not want to comment.

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