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East Suffolk and Great Yarmouth councils secure £9.1m for coastal erosion pilots



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Moveable homes and community rock piles are among ideas to be explored as part of £9million pilot projects tackling coastal erosion in some of the most vulnerable coastal communities in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Thorpeness, Southwold, Great Yarmouth and Hemsby will be the four key locations for East Suffolk and Great Yarmouth councils’ Resilient Coasts programme to develop innovative and long term solutions to coastal flooding and erosion that can be used by communities across the districts.

Twin locations in Pakefield, Shotley Gate and land between Corton and Gunton will also be the feature of pilot work.

Southwold is one of the key locations highlighted in the programme.
Southwold is one of the key locations highlighted in the programme.

The two councils have secured £9.1million of funding from DEFRA and the Environment Agency for the scheme – one of 25 nationally – with East Suffolk Council’s cabinet on Tuesday night approving the outline business case for work to progress.

Conservative cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk Council, David Ritchie, said: “We are very pleased our project is one that is receiving funding.

“It’s a six-year project and the focus of the project is to develop solutions to achieve a resilient coast that can adapt to the challenges of coast erosion, flooding, and the increased challenge of climate change and sea level rises.”

David Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk Council. Picture: East Suffolk Council
David Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk Council. Picture: East Suffolk Council

Cllr Ritchie said that while the pilots would focus on the four key areas, “the aim is to develop long term solutions for the whole of our coast, and we hope our work will be useful nationally”.

The council said things it would be looking at are innovative solutions such as developing moveable homes in areas at future risk, making infrastructure more resilient and better mechanisms to support clifftop properties which need to be sacrificed for managed erosion.

Another idea is for community rock piles which can be moved into locations where needed. The council said it hoped to produce a toolkit of options that would make coastal defences more integrated across the districts.

Karen Thomas, head of Coastal Partnership East, said: “We want to get on the front foot and start planning for change, to start developing more flexible planning policies and also look at innovation in both our defence options and also our local development options. Can we start to look at homes that can be built to be moved?

Twin locations in Pakefield, Shotley Gate and land between Corton and Gunton will also be the feature of pilot work. Picture: Southwold via iStock
Twin locations in Pakefield, Shotley Gate and land between Corton and Gunton will also be the feature of pilot work. Picture: Southwold via iStock

“Southwold and Aldeburgh will continue to be defended by hard defences wherever it is possible to do so, but in between those areas we have got a lot of coast that’s not defended.

“We need to give people real options so they can think about what they want for themselves and their communities going forward.”

David Beavan, Southwold Liberal Democrat councillor. Picture: David Beavan
David Beavan, Southwold Liberal Democrat councillor. Picture: David Beavan

David Beavan, Southwold councillor and leader of the Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group at East Suffolk Council, said it was “absolutely brilliant” and will “proactively build a road to resilience for our communities”.