Fury at sea defences objection

By Sarah ChambersVILLAGERS threatened by coastal erosion are angry that the Environment Agency is unwilling to withdraw its objection to their sea defence proposal.

By Sarah Chambers

VILLAGERS threatened by coastal erosion are angry that the Environment Agency is unwilling to withdraw its objection to their sea defence proposal.

Dunwich has been trying to gain support from the Environment Agency for its project, which is estimated to cost up to £35,000.

It has already been backed by Suffolk Coastal District Council, which earmarked £15,000 to support it, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which offered a £10,000 research grant.


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However, villagers have faced opposition from the Environment Agency, and their application is stalled in the planning process while the objection remains.

The Dunwich scheme was devised by Aldeburgh-based engineer, Stephen Hawes, who hopes to use dunes and grass in the battle to save the village from the sea.

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His project involves harnessing the powerful natural barrier of marram grass and dunes using modern technology such as geogrid, a high density polypropylene mesh, and geotextile, a strong fabric that holds material together.

The materials would be used in a similar way to traditional sea defences like faggoting, where rows of sticks were dug, which encouraged natural barriers.

However, the Environment Agency said it had spent time and money looking at the scheme, but believed it would not be successful and would not withdraw its objection.

Dunwich Parish Meeting chairman, Michael Clark, said: "They are not prepared to change their minds about anything. I'm taking this up in the strongest possible terms.

"I'm angry because they have said they will not review their decision. The whole point is we are appealing against their decision because we think it's wrong."

Karen Thomas, coastal processes engineer with the Environment Agency, said it had spent a significant amount of staff time looking at the project and trying to find other ways to make it work.

"We felt it would not achieve their aim and would have ramifications for other areas of the coast," she added.

sarah.chambers@eadt.co.uk

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