£150k boost for Bawdsey coastline

A LIFELINE has today been handed to a historic hamlet in danger of being wiped off the map by severe coastal erosion.Central government has refused grant aid for a sea-defence scheme at East Lane in Bawdsey, but Suffolk coastal district council is now pledging to spend £120,000 of its own money on it.

A LIFELINE has been handed to a historic hamlet in danger of being wiped off the map by severe coastal erosion.

Central government has refused grant aid for a sea-defence scheme at East Lane in Bawdsey, but Suffolk coastal district council is now pledging to spend £120,000 of its own money on it.

As revealed in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, a meeting of the council's cabinet agreed to commit the money after hearing that unless urgent action was taken now the land beneath two cliff top properties and the Martello Tower could be lost to the next severe storm.

Andy Smith, cabinet member for coastal protection and deputy leader of the council, said: "Suffolk Coastal is facing severe financial pressures, and we simply do not have the scale of available finance required for long-term protection of this area.

"However, we have managed to use £100,000 from our emergency fund, £20,000 from our existing budget, and £30,000 from nearby property owners so that we can sanction the work immediately.

"This scheme could be vital to protect other parts of our coastline such as Shingle Street and possibly the Deben estuary mouth itself."

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Mr Smith said: "This decision has been forced on us by both the weather and the change of climate in Whitehall.

"I am angry that insufficient Government funding and the new priority system has left it to us and the residents to take action now. We have no choice but to pay for the emergency works in the hope that the funding will finally become available in a few years time to provide the long-term solution that is ready and desperately needed."

Earlier this year a new priority system was introduced by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) which downgraded the proposed scheme by the Environment Agency and Suffolk Coastal for Bawdsey to only medium to low priority, meaning it could be many years before the work could be carried out.

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