Erosion projects could start next year

WORK could start next year on the first of a series of projects costing millions of pounds to protect Felixstowe seafront from storms and rising sea levels.

WORK could start next year on the first of a series of projects costing millions of pounds to protect Felixstowe seafront from storms and rising sea levels.

Old and crumbling rock groynes are likely to be ripped out and replaced with a mixture of fishtail rock groynes and offshore reefs to keep the waves at bay.

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of dredged sand and shingle will also be sprayed onto the shore to improve beach levels.

On Thursday an exhibition will be held at Felixstowe Leisure Centre from 2pm to 7pm to show people some of the ideas and get their views on the proposals for defending the town's coastline.

Consultants have compiled reports for Suffolk Coastal and the Environment Agency to set out how the policy of "hold the line" can be achieved.

"It is the agreed view of both ourselves and the Environment Agency, accepted by the government, that the existing line between the sea and the land in Felixstowe should be maintained," said deputy council leader Andy Smith.

Most Read

"The Felixstowe coastline has three distinct zones and three different studies have been undertaken to assess what needs to be done in each.

"The southern study was completed in 2003, the current studies cover the north and central areas, and the exhibition will cover all three.

"I would encourage as many as possible to come along to find out first-hand what is being proposed. We want to hear the views of local people on this most important of projects – protecting our coastline for now and for future generations."

Defences in north Felixstowe – from the Golf course to Jacob's Ladder – are relatively new, and consultants Royal Haskoning recommend increased monitoring and maintenance.

In five to ten years' time, it will become necessary for improvements and rock could be used to strengthen the seaward end of the groynes and help hold a higher beach.

The central area between Jacob's Ladder and the War Memorial has been produced by the Halcrow Group.

They suggest modifications to the Cobbold's Point defences, and replacement of existing concrete groynes with rock fishtail groynes.

Halcrows also recommended rock fishtail groynes and/or off shore reefs for the southern section to Landguard Point. Black and Veatch have looked at these and other options – such as timber groynes and straight rock groynes – with a view to starting work on the replacement of the old concrete groynes in 2006.

A key aspect to all the current work, is the recommendation of the use of rock in the defences, instead of traditional timber.

The studies independently concluded the beaches have been lowering because material has been moving offshore and rock fishtail groynes are proven to be more effective at combating this problem.

"We know many people do not like the use of rock rather than timber groynes on local beaches. Unfortunately, the cost of timber groynes nowadays is prohibitive," said Mr Smith.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter