Action on danger beaches

ACTION is at long last to be taken to remove razor-sharp rusting shards of metal on Old Felixstowe's beaches – 16 months after the Evening Star highlighted the dangers.

ACTION is at long last to be taken to remove razor-sharp rusting shards of metal on Old Felixstowe's beaches – 16 months after the Evening Star highlighted the dangers.

The Environment Agency is to take urgent action to stop the public being injured by lethal decaying sea defences, whose jagged tops are hidden at high tide.

When the Star focussed on the hazards in autumn 2002 the agency put up warning signs to make people aware and not to swim in the area because of the underwater obstructions where three breakwaters had collapsed.

Residents were worried that swimmers or people jumping into the sea could be caught on the metal and suffer a serious injury.

Two more winters of gale-lashed seas have made the situation worse, and now the groynes will be taken away.

Stan Jeavons, Environment Agency operations team leader for Suffolk and Norfolk, said: "We clearly need to do some urgent remedial works to remove the public risk aspect and I am giving instructions for our Emergency Workforce to give the work priority.

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"We are currently still carrying out emergency works on the coast to repair the storm damage of December 14 and 15. It does seem that the recent storms have reduced beach levels further and exposed these old groynes."

Concerned resident David Crerar, of Westmorland Road, Felixstowe, took photographs of the groynes and sent them to the Environment Agency.

"There are lethal razor-sharp shards of metal awaiting the unsuspecting bather or yachtsman," aid Mr Crerar.

"It is unacceptable for this situation to continue. Felixstowe is proudly flying safe bathing flags, but they seem hardly justified when visitors could incur serious injuries in this area.

"The difficulty is that these things only become apparent in the Spring low tides and you have to be there at the right time to see them."

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal council said: "We are asking what are the Environment Agency proposals for replacing the groynes and removing the debris. Clearly it is a bit late for repairs. It is the Environment Agency's responsibility for those bits and clearly up to them what they do."

The stretch of coast from Clifflands along the golf links to Felixstowe Ferry often has many dangers at low tide, with erosion revealing the remains of steel piling stumps of old sea defences and concrete anti tank defence blocks.

The Agency is unlikely to replace the metal groynes as they are not currently essential sea defences because of the changes in the offshore sandbanks and channel. It may be decided to use rock armour instead.

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