Scheme underway to help better protect east coast
- Credit: Mick Howes
A new project is set to assess future options and possible longer-term protection to coastal defences.
It comes as temporary defences installed to slow erosion and help support the vulnerable cliffs to the south of Pakefield, in Lowestoft, have "held well" despite being battered by bad weather recently.
East Suffolk Council, through Coastal Partnership East, which manages the coast on its behalf, appointed the Water Management Alliance (WMA) to carry out the temporary beach protection works.
Several one tonne sandbags were installed in a 100m length protection at the base of the cliff and beach as part of the works carried out in December and January to the eroding cliffs at Arbor Lane.
However, people were seen dangerously "clambering over and fishing" from the sandbags last month, prompting contractors to install new fencing to deter them from climbing onto the temporary defences.
Now, after concerns had been raised about damage to the defences and further erosion following the recent winter storms, the council is "assessing the extent of coastal change and impact on defences".
After the "very aggressive weather conditions" recently, an East Suffolk Council spokesman said: "There have been significant changes in beach volume and shape at several sites, including Pakefield.
"When we have more information we will consider what action is required.
"The temporary defences put in place to slow erosion in front of the properties at Arbor Lane have held well.
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"We are assessing what next steps and possible maintenance might need to be done.
"A project has begun to examine how the coast is behaving at Pakefield and what options are possible.
"The Pakefield Community Steering Group is working closely with Coastal Partnership East and there will be opportunities for the wider community to become involved as the project progresses."
The Pakefield steering group was established last summer with the emergency works given a £4,000 boost to the total cost of the works from the locality budgets of Suffolk County councillors Melanie Vigo di Gallidoro and Craig Rivett.
At the time, Mrs Vigo di Gallidoro said: "It is hoped these emergency protection works will save further damage during the winter, giving time to put more long term defences in place in 2021."
With cliff and beach safety still remaining "a concern," the council has reiterated warnings for people to stay away from the base of cliffs at Pakefield, to take alternative routes where footpaths are closed and not climb on top of the temporary defences.
The spokesman added: "Some areas to the south of Pakefield are extremely dangerous to pass at high tide."
If you see an emergency call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.