Suffolk: Flooding fears don’t dampen enthusiasm for coastal scheme

The county has backed the management plan for the Heritage Coast.

The county has backed the management plan for the Heritage Coast.

Suffolk’s heritage coast is likely to remain a magnet for visitors for years to come despite fears that it could be changed dramatically by flooding.

That was the message from the county council as its cabinet unanimously approved a new five-year management programme for the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There was an all-party welcome for the 90-page report which outlines how the area should be managed until 2018.

However new Conservative councillor Michael Gower said the two large wind turbines at Kessingland were a blot on the landscape.

He said that while Sizewell B blended in well with the AONB, the two turbines were out of place.

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This prompted Labour opposition leader Sandy Martin to intervene – asking what the impact of flooding would be on the Heritage Coast if global warming led to a rise in sea levels.

Cabinet member for planning Richard Smith said there were flooding concerns – especially at the northern end of the AONB: “We are losing up to five metres a year in the Covehithe area. Some areas can be protected, but in others nature has to be left to take its course.”

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And Conservative councillor Jessica Fleming, a geologist, told the meeting that the flooding problems along the Suffolk coast were not caused by a rise in the sea level, but by changes in the tectonic plates.

Liberal Democrat county councillor David Wood is chairman of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB and said the strategy was vital for the future development of an area that was worth £234million to the county’s economy in tourism and related industries.

“This is a dynamic area, and it needs management. It is not all strictly natural – some is man made. Look at the (Thorpeness) Meare. It is man made, but it is part of the heritage coast and is now celebrating its 100th anniversary.”

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