Residents voice fears over flooding

WORRIED residents today put their fears over flooding to election candidates as they visited Felixstowe's new �10 million sea defences.

Richard Cornwell

WORRIED residents today put their fears over flooding to election candidates as they visited Felixstowe's new �10 million sea defences.

Although the new rock groynes and replenished beaches successfully came through the winter, giving protection to 1,600 homes and businesses in the resort's low-lying West End area, householders want to ensure the beaches are looked after.

They told MEP Richard Howitt and other Labour election hopefuls there must be regular recharging of the shores to keep them at the highest levels.

Ann Shorey, 64, who lives with her husband Colin in Orford Road, said: “Even though we have new defences, the sea still came over the prom and up to the floodgates this winter.

“There has been some erosion, too, of the sand and shingle they put on the beach and the beach is now lower and more will need to be put on it at some stage. It's a constant worry.”

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Mr Howitt said co-operation with European countries, with places such as Belgium, Holland, Germany and Denmark having great knowledge of protecting low-lying areas, would be key to ensuring communities like Felixstowe got the best defences in future to combat rising sea levels and climate change.

A new European bid is being drawn up which could see Euro cash - �200 million is available - and expertise protecting the county's seaside homes and communities from the threat of the incoming sea.

“Countries such as the Netherlands have been fighting back the sea for generations, of course we should learn from them to protect our own Suffolk coastline - why should we waste time by re-inventing the wheel?” he said.

“European cash and experience is helping our community shape its sea defences like the ones here in Felixstowe, and we must continue to use all resources possible to protect our local homes and communities.

“If we ignore this problem and don't work with partners to tackle the shared problem of coastal erosion we will indeed have a little Britain - a Britain with coastlines hugely eroded from where they are today and coastal family homes destroyed by the incoming sea. I am not prepared to sit by and let that happen.”

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