Project set to protect ‘weak link’ in coastline at Slaughden and Aldeburgh

Work is carried out along the sea wall at Slaughden Quay in Aldeburgh to repair and strengthen the d

Work is carried out along the sea wall at Slaughden Quay in Aldeburgh to repair and strengthen the defences. - Credit: Archant

A two-month project to protect 200 metres of one of the most vulnerable stretches of the Suffolk coast is under way after winter weather caused delays.

Slaughden Quay.
Picture: Mike Page

Slaughden Quay. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

The £400,000 scheme at Slaughden, south of Aldeburgh, aims to reduce the risk of breaches to the sea wall, one of the weak links along the county’s coastline.

Diggers are working to position 5,000 tonnes of rock armour brought in by sea on barges to bolster the coastal defences in front of Aldeburgh Yacht Club, protecting the narrow strip of land between the Martello Tower and Fort Green.

The stretch between Slaughden and the River Alde has been at risk for years with fears that a fierce storm could break through, leading to flooding of the low-lying marsh.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “The beach level at Slaughden has significantly lowered and has not naturally recovered.

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“This has exposed the toe of the seawall, making it vulnerable to wave erosion.

“We want to make sure that the defence offers the best standard of flood protection to people and their property. Maintaining the flood defence is important for the whole estuary.

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“Rock toe protection will maintain seawall stability and reduce the risk of overtopping or breaching. This will allow us to continue to manage flood risk in the Alde/Ore estuary.”

Last winter a landslip happened close to the yacht club, where shingle suddenly shifted after a battering by strong winds and waves, leaving a hole and threatening the road along the coastal bank.

Police closed the road for safety reasons while engineers assessed the seriousness of the collapse.

It has been hoped to start the current project earlier but winter weather delayed the delivery of the rock.

The rock is being placed in front of the sea wall and once it has been manoeuvred into position, the beach will be recharged with shingle from the store behind the Martello Tower.

The Environment Agency said beach access will be reduced during the work.

“A temporary footpath closure will be in place for public safety. We will keep the area open wherever possible and all properties will be accessible throughout the work,” added the spokesman.

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