Coastline - protection
The Suffolk open coast is approximately 49 miles (79km) long and runs from Corton on the Norfolk/Suffolk border to Landguard point in Felixstowe. In addition there is a further 83 miles (134km) of tidal edge within the Blyth, Alde and Ore , Deben and Orwell (northern side of Ipswich) estuaries within Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Council area.
Responsibility for managing this coastline is split between the Environment Agency (for largely floodable areas), private ownership and the Maritime Planning Authorities (largely erodible coastline) which in Suffolk 's case is Suffolk Coastal District Council and Waveney District Council . You can see how the responsibility for the Suffolk coastline is broken down on our Coastal Management responsibility map.
The two District Councils combined are directly responsible for 22 miles (36km) of this coastline and have powers (not duties) to carry out works over parts of this frontage to manage the risk of erosion. Currently there are maintained hard defences (plus over 300 groynes) covering 12 miles (19.4km) of coast.
The District Councils work in partnership and have a shared Coastal Management Team (CoMT) based at the Waveney District Council office in Lowestoft.
The CoMT has an overall objective to appropriately manage the risk to life, property and the environment from coastal erosion and related flooding. This includes:
- To exercise powers to benefit the local community as a Coast Protection Operating Authority under the Coast Protection Act 1949 and Flood and Water Management Act 2010;
- Provide a strategic approach to flood and erosion risk management, in partnership with other authorities and in the best interests of the local community;
- Fully investigate, appraise and implement coast protection schemes where it's technically, financially and environmentally sustainable to do so.
The overall guiding policy on how the coast is managed is to be managed is contained in Shoreline Management Plans. There are 3 covering the Suffolk coast and these identify the intent of management over the short, medium and long term.
The principle themes of work of the CoMT can be summarised under the following four headings:
- Intelligence and Information
- Managing risk and planning for the future;
- Monitoring of changes to the coastline;
- Understanding how the coastal processes works better.
- Engaging and Enabling
- Proving advice on development management in coastal areas;
- Working with others to influence and deliver coastal policies;
- Working with community based groups to achieve local objectives;
- Coastal Adaptation - working with a changing coastline in particular the Pathfinder programme in Easton Bavents and Corton.
- Sustaining Communities
- Looking after the existing coast defences;
- Improving the level of protection to coastal communities;
- Delivering Shoreline Management Plan policy.
- Finance and Funding
The implementation of Defra's Partnership Funding model to fund coast defence works and developing local capacity and innovation to meet any shortfall between national funds and project costs.