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East Suffolk Council agrees on long-term plan to protect Slaughden shoreline up to 2105

A long term plan to manage the Slaughden shoreline south of Aldeburgh into the next century has been agreed.

East Suffolk Council has been operating a ‘hold the line’ policy for managing the stretch of shoreline between the Martello tower at Slaughden southwards to Lantern Marshes – a short term plan up to 2025, with an interim measure of ‘no active intervention’ beyond that.

But the council’s cabinet on Tuesday night agreed to a new policy of ‘managed realignment’ which will help protect the shoreline for more than 80 years up to 2105.

According to the authority, Slaughden beach is now effectively a narrow shingle ridge separating the River Ore from the sea, which has become more vulnerable than in previous years.

The council report said: “Recent natural changes along the coastline, due to significant events, mean that in places the existing shingle barrier has become more vulnerable than it used to be.

“Without works to help maintain this feature, the barrier is at potential risk from breaching, which could substantially alter not only the River Ore, but also the wider Alde and Ore Estuary.”

While the management plan has been agreed by the council’s cabinet, that stretch of the shoreline is maintained by the Environment Agency.

The plans have already been out to public consultation in October and November last year, where 97% of respondents said they supported the change.

The new ‘managed realignment’ policy will effectively allow the shoreline to move backwards or forwards as necessary naturally but with controls in place, and means that shingle ridge can be maintained for the long term.

East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for coastal management, David Ritchie, said the Suffolk Coast Forum has been working on the plans, and added: “The community have shown 97% support for the proposed changes.

“The overall aim of this change is to have a resilient shingle ridge all the way from the Martello tower south of Aldeburgh down to Orford Ness and that will be able to be maintained.

“The aim is that, although there may be overtopping occasionally by the sea, we wish to avoid a breach in the shingle reach so that the estuary maintains its present shape.”

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