Shingle mound causing port headache

THOUSANDS of tonnes of shingle and sand has today been removed from an area of coast - because it was threatening the security of Britain's top container terminal.

THOUSANDS of tonnes of shingle and sand has today been removed from an area of coast - because it was threatening the security of Britain's top container terminal.

While elsewhere on Felixstowe's shores material is being eroded by the sea and then having to be replaced by man, the port has seen nature delivering material instead.

But that created a massive mound which made it possible for people to get in and out of the secure quayside areas of the port where goods worth millions of pounds are handled every day.

While the port has not suffered problems with stowaways in recent years, there was concern that the shingle could provide an easy way illegal immigrants could get out of the port without being seen, and then head off into Felixstowe and beyond.


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Alternatively, it could have been used by thieves, or just inquisitive people wanting to explore the port and who could have put themselves in danger.

The shingle headland formed around the northern edge of the John Bradfield Viewing Area used by hundreds of shipspotters every week to watch the world's largest vessels using the port.

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It meant people could have crossed the mound and then climbed up onto the quay of Landguard Terminal - or from the port to the viewing area.

Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs at the Port of Felixstowe, said the mound had become a growing concern.

It had been decided to remove it - around 4,500 tonnes of shingle - and to build 30 metres of extra security fencing along the quay to ensure no-one could get in.

Mr Davey said: “It was very strange to see material increasing in that area suddenly like that and then remove it - for the past couple of years we have had to bring in thousands of tonnes of material to replenish the area in front of the viewing area where there was serious erosion.

“I don't know whether it was the work in front of the viewing area which then caused the area near the quay to build up or just the dynamics of the water coming in and out of the harbour.

“Our concern was the security of the port and making sure that no-one would use that area to get in and out of the port.”

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