Emergency coastal protection work to start
URGENT work to protect Suffolk’s crumbling coastline is to start on Monday, council bosses have confirmed today.
Emergency measures are being put in place to help safeguard homes in North End Avenue in Thorpeness, after local beach levels dropped by over five feet this month.
Following the heavy storms at the start of May tonnes of beach material was swept out to sea, revealing a series of gabions, rock-filled wire baskets, that had been in place since 1976 to help protect the coastline.
In just two weeks what was a sloping shingle beach has been replaced by a sheer drop of around 20ft.
Andy Smith, cabinet member for coastal protection and deputy leader of Suffolk Coast District Council said coastal protection is a top priority for the council and prompt, innovative action will continue to be taken.
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He said: “We have agreed to take immediate emergency action to ‘lock in’ the end of the gabion bank which we believe will stop this rapid erosion and so help safeguard the homes.
“From Monday, we will have contactors on site putting in place new gabions in front of the cliff where the main erosion has happened.
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“This should provide some significant temporary respite to the cliffs and so offer some reassurance to those living in the nearby homes. Work can only be done at low tide, but all the materials have been delivered ready for a prompt start.”
The change in the strength and direction of the wind, should also mean a respite for the beach, and could even see a return of some of the materials that have been washed out to sea.
Cllr Smith added: “While the situation is clearly very worrying for the nearby residents, it’s worth remembering that the situation must have been similar in the seventies when the gabion bank was built – but the beach had built back so much that many of us did not know that they were there beneath the few visible on top. So we can reasonably hope and expect that when the wind changes, that will recur.
“We will be meeting with residents soon to explain what action is being taken urgently and discuss what the options are for the future.”