Suffolk: Stunning aerial photos capture changing face of the county

Aerial picture from Mike Page showing the size of a 60-acre solar farm being built on farmland to th

Aerial picture from Mike Page showing the size of a 60-acre solar farm being built on farmland to the north east of Chediston - Credit: Archant

THE spectacular aerial images by photographer Mike Page show the changing face of Suffolk’s landscape. From the heart of countryside to the county’s rugged coastline, there is increasing influence from both man made and natural processes.

Bawdsey erosion repairs

Bawdsey erosion repairs Aerial

Shingle Street Island Sandbank

Shingle Street Island Sandbank Aerial

Suffolk’s coastline has long been battered by strong winds and the powerful North Sea.

Great Blakenham Incinerator

Great Blakenham Incinerator Aerial

However rates of erosion have increased in recent years – nowhere more so than at Bawdsey, near Woodbridge.

The sea has been a perennial threat to the shoreline at East Lane, with the coastal footpath being diverted inland several years ago and an emergency protection scheme launched following rapid erosion.

As the picture shows, work is once again under way to shore up the sea defences.

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Meanwhile the accompanying photo shows the effect of coastal processes further along the coast at Shingle Street.

The EADT reported last month how the Environment Agency (EA) was forced into action at Bawdsey after the shingle beach dropped several feet in just a few weeks.

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Karen Thomas, a senior coastal advisor for the EA, said it was carrying out minor repairs to the wall to ensure it continues to protect people and their property from the threat of tidal flooding.

Work to protect the cliffs, Martello Tower and two homes in East Lane was initiated by the East Lane Trust and finished in 2009.

In 2005, the Bawdsey shore was the subject of an installation by artist Bettina Furnée, who planted 38 flags in five lines one metre apart along the eroding cliffs. The resulting time-lapse video documented the steady erosion of 17 metres of shoreline.

Mr Page’s aerial images also capture the impact manmade structures are having on the Suffolk landscape.

In one series of pictures, he has photographed how far work has progressed on a controversial incinerator plant at Great Blakenham. The main chimney, which is expected to be 81 metres tall when completed, can clearly be seen alongside the metal structure of the main building.

The energy-from-waste plant is being built by waste management company SITA, which is Suffolk County Council’s partner in the project.

When completed, the facility is expected to burn 269,000 tonnes of non-recyclable rubbish annually and generate enough electricity for 30,000 homes – a town the size of Lowestoft.

The plant is also expected to provide heat for a huge greenhouse that may be built nearby to grow tomatoes.

Suffolk County Council has hailed the project’s green credentials for putting to good use waste that would otherwise go to landfill. Some local residents, however, have described the chimney as an “eyesore” that will spoil views of the countryside in the area.

The first test waste is due to be burned at the plant in summer next year – and the plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2014.

Another photo shows a 24.6 hectare solar park being built on farmland to the north east of Chediston, near Halesworth.

The 12.3MW development was given the go ahead by Waveney District Council at the end of last year.

Scores of solar panels are now being mounted on “tables” to run in a linear pattern across fields.

Hedgerows will be planted and grass and wild flowers allowed to grow, to be mowed back twice a year to protect the panels.

A spokeswoman for Solarcentury, which is behind the scheme, said the site was progressing well.

“We started construction in January, so it is a good example of how quickly solar energy can be mobilised,” she said. “It will generate enough clean energy to power 3,500 houses for decades to come.”

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