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Should the Coastline of East Anglia Be Defended?

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SHOULD THE COASTLINE OF EAST ANGLIA BE DEFENDED? The coastal erosion of East Anglia is increasing rapidly, in places, over 2 metres per year is being lost to the sea. This is caused by both human activities and natural causes. Firstly, the coast of East Anglia is made up of soft, easily eroded materials such as clay, chalk, sand and silt. The action of the sea naturally erodes this material. Secondly, there is a large body of opinion that feels global warming is adding to the problem. It is felt that because of the activities of mankind, gases are produced, mainly in industry, that damage the ozone layer, which is the layer of gases that protect the earth from the sun. Therefore, the earth's average temperature has risen, leading to the melting of certain polar regions which adds more water to the earth's surface and makes the sea rise. The third problem for East Anglia is marine dredging. Offshore dredging removes natural barriers to the sea in the form of rocks, gravel and sand, thereby increasing the pressure of the sea on the coastline. ...read more.


They support more 'natural' solutions such as salt marshes and sand dunes. Until recently the protection of the entire coastline has been done on a piecemeal basis, with each different council responsible for their own patch. Protection is therefore small scale, short term and has little regard for the effect it will have on neighbouring areas of coastline. For example, large scale use of groynes will prevent natural long shore drift and so deprive the next area of incoming long shore drift. The recent studies have indicated that the need for a more comprehensive approach on a regional scale. Many different changes have been suggested but at the moment options are still being considered. For the above reasons, The Environment Agency feels that a local management approach is incapable of meeting up to the complexities of the coastal processes . They therefore recommend and support 'managed retreat' on a regional rather than local basis. Managed retreat means that -land is surrendered to the sea, particularly low value agricultural land. ...read more.


The Environmental Agency's strategy of natural retreat (giving up the land where appropriate and compensating the local community) can be fully considered together with any physical protections (sea-wall improvement, rip-rap, sand replacement etc) which may be suitable at each point on the coast. In conjunction with this, the effect, if any, of off-shore dredging and physical interference with any parts of the coastline should be closely monitored and action taken where necessary. Whilst looking at the entire region, the effects that changes to the environment in one area will have further down the coast can be borne in mind. Furthermore, the global aspects should be thought of as well, such as the issue of global warming and the fact that sea levels may rise further. Obviously this needs to be fully considered but can only ever be a part of government strategy, it is not the responsibility of local level councils etc. Above all, it is vital to consider the interests of local people. This includes farmers, residents and businesses that depend on tourists to the area. Their interests should be taken very seriously and considered in conjunction with what is inevitable geographically and possible financially and physically. ...read more.

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