Gallery: Photographs show latest extent of coastal erosion
RECENT freezing temperatures and strong, bitter easterly winds are taking an obvious toll on Suffolk’s already rapidly disappearing coastline.
These aerial pictures taken by Mike Page show the extent of erosion and how close a number of properties are to falling into the sea.
The problems at Easton Bavents, near Southwold, have been well documented in recent years and the cliff edge continues to creep ever nearer to a number of homes.
At Covehithe the erosion continues apace, with a number of salt killed trees left up-rooted and scattered along the beach.
Further up at the coast at Hopton, near Lowestoft, the damage is even more aggressive, with defences breached and cliff paths destroyed, leaving a number of properties vulnerable.
Gary Watson, Norfolk and Suffolk coastal engineer with the Environment Agency, said the problem has been exacerbated by prolonged easterly winds.
“Over the last two weeks we have had persistent easterlies coming in, some of them quite strong,” he said. “These tend to scour some beaches away. As a result we have recorded very low beach levels. That’s what we would mainly see in the winter.”
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He said by now they would normally expect the beaches to start rebuilding and offer more protection to the coastline.
However the abnormally cold conditions and bitter winds had prevented this from happening.
“Once we get out of these easterlies we should start seeing calmer conditions and more constructive waves that will push sand back up the beach,” he added.
Mr Watson said the responsibility for managing that stretch of coastline in terms of erosion lay with Waveney District Council and that the two authorities were working in partnership to keep a close watch on the situation.
Suffolk’s Shoreline Management Plan (SMP), which sets out how the coast will be protected, has outlined a policy of “no active intervention” for the areas of Benacre and Covehithe - meaning defences will not be provided or maintained.
At Easton Bavents the policy is one of “managed realignment” - meaning coastal processes will be managed to realign the “natural” coastline configuration, either seaward or landward of its present position.