New pictures show cost of prolonged erosion of Suffolk’s coastline as ‘Beast From The East’ leaves its mark on the region

The aftermath of the 2013 tidal surge at the Benacre pump. Picture: MIKE PAGE

The aftermath of the 2013 tidal surge at the Benacre pump. Picture: MIKE PAGE - Credit: Archant

Suffolk may have escaped the worst blows from the ‘Beast From The East’, but new pictures show the true cost of erosion of our coastline over the past ten years.

The Benacre pump today - latest erosion has seen part of the defences lost. Picture: MIKE PAGE

The Benacre pump today - latest erosion has seen part of the defences lost. Picture: MIKE PAGE

Pictures taken of Covehithe, Easton Bavents and Benacre reveal how destructive weather patterns have eaten away at the county’s cliffs over the course of just one decade.

The news comes as Suffolk Coastal District Council reiterates its warnings about collapsing cliffs on the coast following the recent easterly winds.

The council has urged people to stay away from cliff edges and watch out for palm oil washed up on beaches after harsh winds wreaked havoc further north in Hemsby.

The areas deemed particularly at risk include Slaughdon, Covehithe, Easton Bavents, Orford, Thorpeness and Bawdsey.

Covehithe back in 2008. Picture: MIKE PAGE

Covehithe back in 2008. Picture: MIKE PAGE - Credit: PICTURE COPYRIGHT MIKE PAGE


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Andrew Smith, Suffolk Coastal cabinet member for coastal management, said Felixstowe and Slaughdon had been hit particularly hard by the winds.

He said: “In Felixstowe we lost a good part of the beach to the storm. [However] we did get the floodgates up which limits the amount of shingle on the prom.”

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Mr Smith said that there had also been “significant concern” about erosion in Slaughdon, after the coast reportedly suffered from high winds overnight.

“The local community are concerned,” he added.

Covehithe erosion. Picture: MIKE PAGE

Covehithe erosion. Picture: MIKE PAGE

However he said that he has not heard reports of damage to Thorpeness in recent days.

The council will also be sending teams to go up and down the coast to inspect damage caused by high winds and cliff-beating waves.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Coastal said: “During the prolonged period of bad weather, the Coastal Partnership East, on behalf of Waveney District Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council, has been inspecting our assets along the coast.

“We are aware that beaches have been lowered and that undefended soft cliffs have suffered from erosion. At this stage, we are not aware of any significant damage to any defences managed by us.”

Easton Bavents near Southwold has also suffered erosion this winter. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Easton Bavents near Southwold has also suffered erosion this winter. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A warning posted on the council’s website stated: “There are many miles of coastal cliff on the Anglian coastline, the majority of which are not protected by defences. In winter months these cliffs are at increased risk of collapse from a combination of unusually high tides and storms.

“The effect of erosion by wave action at the base of the cliff increases the risk of cliff falls which typically happen both during, and in the days after, a high tide or storm.

“Although the landowner has some responsibility for the safety of persons walking on or below all cliffs within their land ownership, everybody should take extra care in these conditions.

“Waveney and Suffolk Coastal District Councils will issue public information warnings via social media during exceptional weather conditions to warn beach users of the increased risk of harm from unstable cliffs.”

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We continue to provide advice and guidance to the local authorities who lead on planning and managing coastal erosion.”

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