Meeting planned over sea defence plan

VILLAGERS wanting to install low-cost sea defences to protect their village from coastal erosion will meet next month with officials from the Environment Agency who are objecting to the scheme.

By Sarah Chambers

VILLAGERS wanting to install low-cost sea defences to protect their village from coastal erosion will meet next month with officials from the Environment Agency who are objecting to the scheme.

Dunwich residents hope a marram grass barrier can be produced to protect them from the sea.

The village, once an important settlement, has battled for centuries against the effects of erosion.


You may also want to watch:


Engineering consultants Stephen Hawes Associates of Aldeburgh have devised a scheme supported by villagers which 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 which holds material together.

The scheme, which the village has been pursuing for the last few years and is expected to cost around £40,000, attracted grant offers – including £15,000 from Suffolk Coastal District Council – but has stalled because of the Environment Agency's objection.

Most Read

The Agency believes the scheme will not achieve what the villagers want, and would have ramifications for other areas.

A meeting between various organisations was due to take place this month but has been postponed until November 23 and will take place at the Environment Agency offices in Ipswich.

Representatives from the village, Stephen Hawes Associates, the Environment Agency, their consultants Halcrow, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council have been invited.

Stephen Hawes explained that they had to apply to Crown Estates for a Farming and Environmental Protection Act Licence to do work below the mean high tide level, but the Agency says it would object to the licence.

"This is a research project and we therefore are saying to Halcrow 'This will further the knowledge of how this particular piece of beach is working so why do you object to finding out more information about a subject which at present has so many ifs and buts' – that's the nub of it," he said.

"They bring in this word coastal processes and they are objecting largely on account of the possibility that we might stop material going up and down the coast."

They hope scheme they propose will stabilise the beach and prevent scouring of shingle, as witnessed two years ago, and in 1996.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter