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Public urged to stay away from eroding cliffs

PUBLISHED: 12:49 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:50 22 January 2019

Coastal erosion between Benacre pump in Suffolk and Happisburgh. Pictured: Pakefield. Date: 14 Jan 2019. Picture: Mike Page

Coastal erosion between Benacre pump in Suffolk and Happisburgh. Pictured: Pakefield. Date: 14 Jan 2019. Picture: Mike Page

Copypright Mike Page, All Rights Reserved Before any use is made of this picture, including dispaly, publication, broadcast, syn

A council has urged members of the public to avoid walking near a stretch of eroding cliffs following adverse weather conditions.

Coastal erosion between Benacre pump in Suffolk and Happisburgh. Pictured: Pakefield. Date: 14 Jan 2019.  Picture: Mike PageCoastal erosion between Benacre pump in Suffolk and Happisburgh. Pictured: Pakefield. Date: 14 Jan 2019. Picture: Mike Page

High tides have severely eroded Pakefield cliffs in recent weeks, battering the area close to Pakefield Caravan Park.

The extent of the erosion means it is currently not possible to walk along the beach during high tide without walking close to the cliffs.

As the winter months rumble on and the chance of collapse increases, Waveney District Council (WDC) has warned of the possibility of further erosion and the subsequent risk of cliff slippages in the area.

A council spokesman said: “We advise members of the public not to walk in this area at high tide and avoid walking close to the cliffs at all other times.

The cliffs at Pakefield beach have been badly eroded. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodThe cliffs at Pakefield beach have been badly eroded. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

“Although the landowner has some responsibility for the safety of persons walking on or below all cliffs within their land ownership, everybody should take extra care in these conditions.

“Our coastal management team is working closely with the landowners, who have also been clearing debris from the beach and we will continue to monitor the situation.”

Several caravans at Pakefield Caravan Park had to be moved back from the cliff edge earlier this month in case of further erosion.

Having shifted a number of its holiday homes further inland, the popular destination insisted it was taking “precautionary steps in the interest of safety” due to movement in the cliffs.

Coastal erosion between Benacre pump in Suffolk and Happisburgh. Pictured: Pakefield. Date: 14 Jan 2019.  Picture: Mike PageCoastal erosion between Benacre pump in Suffolk and Happisburgh. Pictured: Pakefield. Date: 14 Jan 2019. Picture: Mike Page

But the park has also called for investment in coastal protection to combat the “completely preventable” damage that affects coastal residents and businesses on an annual basis.

The Suffolk coast, running from Corton on the Norfolk/Suffolk border to Landguard Point in Felixstowe, is approximately 49 miles long - but hard sea defences cover just 12 miles of the coastline.

A combination of unusually high tides and storms in winter months pose a significant risk of cliff collapse, typically occurring both during adverse weather conditions and in the days after.

Responsibility for managing the coastline in Waveney is split between the Environment Agency, for areas at risk of flooding, and WDC’s coastal management team for areas at risk of erosion.

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