'It's awful' - Concerns raised over debris left behind by erosion defences

coastal pollution

The former sandbag defences have been destroyed by storms over recent months, with sticks now protruding from the beach. - Credit: Phil Mace

Concerns have been raised about coastal defences in Pakefield, Lowestoft, after debris was discovered which could be harmful to local wildlife in the area.

The coastal defences were installed to slow erosion and help support the vulnerable cliffs to the south of Pakefield.

East Suffolk Council, through Coastal Partnership East, which manages the coast on its behalf, appointed the Water Management Alliance (WMA) to carry out the temporary beach protection works.

degrading bags

Degrading bags can now be seen on the beach. - Credit: Phil Mace

Several one tonne sandbags were installed in a 100m length protection at the base of the cliff and beach as part of the works carried out in December and January to the eroding cliffs at Arbor Lane.

phil mace

Phil Mace is angry and believes the coastal defences should be taken down. - Credit: Phil Mace

Phil Mace has lived in Pakefield all his life and regularly walks on the beach and believes the defences should now be taken down.

He said: "It's awful to look at.

"What's happened is the summer storms have destroyed these bags to the extent that all that remains are the posts sticking up dangerously

"The majority of the bags are rotting slowly around them."

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Mr Mace is concerned the impact the degrading bags will have on local wildlife.

strings bags

Strings from the bags are now protruding from the beach. - Credit: Phil Mace

"Seals and sea martins can be seen regularly on the beach now," he said.

"My concern is the seals getting tangled up in the strings and the birds flying down to try and eat the waste.

"The area needs to be dug up.

"It is a foreign pollutant to the local environment and needs to go."

A spokesperson for East Suffolk Council said the temporary measures will be in place until at least 2025, saying: “It is likely to be 2025 before construction on any scheme can begin.

"To protect this area whilst the options are developed, funding has been obtained from a private/public partnership of Pathfinder funds, councillor grants, local business owners and private individuals for emergency temporary works.

"Existing temporary measures which have been in place over the past two winters have reduced the risk of erosion to the most vulnerable areas and these will now be bolstered by the emergency works.

“Coastal Partnership East regularly monitor the temporary works and are aware that the damage from last winter and recent high tides have taken their toll.

“Coastal Partnership East will continue to liaise with the local community on all the options.”