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Battle against the sea has a price

PUBLISHED: 11:12 17 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:45 03 March 2010

HOUSEHOLDERS and the owners of an historic shore fort are to be asked to help pay for £2.5 million-worth of new sea defences to protect the vulnerable area around Bawdsey.

HOUSEHOLDERS and the owners of an historic shore fort are to be asked to help pay for £2.5 million-worth of new sea defences to protect the vulnerable area around Bawdsey.

Suffolk Coastal councillors have agreed to make an application to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to help with the cost of the part of the scheme for which they would be responsible.

The Environment Agency would pay for the lion's share of the work and the county council would also contribute.

Suffolk Coastal's cabinet was told that farmland as far north as Shingle Street could be flooded and historic Bawdsey Manor, a Martello Tower and several homes lost to the waves unless sea defence work is carried out urgently.

Engineers say there is an "increasing risk" of failure of the current defences at East Lane, and the Napoleonic fort and some homes could be lost in about seven years with rising sea levels and scientists' predictions of more storms.

Cliffs near the Martello Tower have eroded rapidly over the past winter and Bawdsey Parish Council has expressed extreme concern about the situation.

The situation at Bawdsey Manor – the birthplace of radar – is less urgent, though consultants warn that its defences could fail in a decade and within 25 years, if no action is taken, the manor and quay will collapse into the sea.

Cabinet members agreed to ask DEFRA for aid at East Lane. Providing rock to protect the cliff, which has been "suffering from progressive deterioration for some years", for around 500 metres and replacing other defences would cost around £1.5m.

However, the district council's coast protection responsibility would mean it only need contribute about £100,000 of this.

Councillors agreed to spend this sum but also to ask the owners of the Martello Tower and nearby houses if they would contribute to the cost.

It is suggested £1.1m will need to be spent to protect Bawdsey Manor but no details have yet emerged of what sort of defences will be built.

The cabinet agreed to set up talks with the owners of the manor, the Environment Agency and DEFRA to discuss the idea of a partnership project to provide long-term protection for the manor and quay.

n What do you think – should such huge sums be spent to protect areas where few people live, or should the sea be allowed to move inland? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk


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