Anger over claim of environment damage
IT may be called the Environment Agency, but today it was accused of not living up to its name.For angry Felixstowe councillors say the agency has done more to damage the town's environment than any business or organisation – and are to protest in the strongest possible terms.
IT may be called the Environment Agency, but today it was accused of not living up to its name.
For angry Felixstowe councillors say the agency has done more to damage the town's environment than any business or organisation – and are to protest in the strongest possible terms.
At the centre of the row is a bizarre row of 20 unsightly signs the agency has put on top of the Landguard sea wall next to a nationally-important nature reserve.
The notices are said to be necessary for safety because of the drop from the 600 metre wall to the beach, but the real fear is litigation if someone had an accident.
Councillor Andy Smith said: "It is ironic in the extreme that a body with the name the Environment Agency has done more to damage the environment of the last semi-natural part of Felixstowe than any other body, even less than the port.
"There has been universal public derision. But while most people do find it laughable, there is bound to be a section that thinks this is the way it should be and that there should be signs along the prom next."
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He questioned if the agency should have planning permission for the signs.
Councillor Doreen Savage, who described the signs as the "nanny state gone absolutely berserk", said handrails had now been put in place on the Manor Wall, the next sea wall along.
Suffolk Coastal was working to see if the number of signs could be reduced.
"What we need are fewer signs and ones which are more in keeping with the local environment," she said.
Councillor Malcolm Minns said: "People are looking upon these signs with increasing scorn and we have become quite frankly figures of mirth. I am sincerely concerned at the increased signage all along our seafront."
The council's general purposes committee agreed to write a strong letter of protest to the Environment Agency and ask for the signs to be removed.
The agency said the signs had been put up on health and safety advice as part of the national Operation Public Safety to warn people to keep clear of the edge of the sea wall, that there is a drop, and children must be supervised at all times.
"The option was to put up fencing all along the edge of the sea wall, but after a risk assessment was done it was deemed that signs were better than fencing," said a spokesman.
The signs would be reviewed after a year.
n What do you think of the notices? Have we become a litigation mad society? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk