Marinet campaigns for protection of East Anglian coastal SSSI

Mike King, a Marinet member, wrote to Norfolk’s Great Yarmouth Mercury about the urgent need for the protection of the Winterton – Horsey Dunes SSSISSSI Site of special scientific interest (Winterton Valley) from the depredations of coastal erosion. The Great Yarmouth Mercury published the letter on 2nd November 2012, and we reproduce the text here:

Significant loss of beach sand

MANY local Norfolk people and those who holiday regularly in Norfolk will know and also have childhood memories of the Winterton Valley an established Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) for the last century and Natural England Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

This AONB is now at risk of total loss to future generations due to the recent significant erosion of its last remaining marram grass sand dune sea defence.

The high Spring tides and storm winds during October this year have twice caused significant losses to the remaining sand dune sea defence, dune top falls and also significant loss of beach sand between the Hemsby (beach access) gap and Winterton.

The NE storm Last Friday night 26/27-10-2012 was the worst with up to four metres of marram grass and sand mass loss along the seaward side of the dune protecting the Winterton valley, its only defence; this was in addition to the sand dune erosion losses earlier this month in this location. Consequently there is now a very real risk that the Winterton valley, an SSSI and AONB will be lost to the sea this winter.

During these recent storms the Winterton valley dune was the most eroded local location. Many local experts blame the large amounts of seabed being removed over large areas by offshore aggregate dredging for these adjacent selected areas of accelerated erosion, there is also evidence of this from history and as many as ten offshore dredgers were seen operating at once along this coast line before this selected accelerated erosion occurred.

Local MARINET representatives are campaigning to save this local ANOB and have put the suggestion to the Winterton Councillor and area MP that: Natural England should fund sea defences for this unique SSSI area because this government departments official aim is : “Put simply, our aim is to create a better natural environment that covers all of our urban, country and coastal landscapes, along with all of the animals, plants and other organisms that live with us.” And you could not get a more long standing and unique area of natural flora & faunafauna The animals characteristic of a region, period, or special environment than the Winterton valley. Also this would be a much more deserving cause than wasting taxpayers’ money on this department`s (which was previously named “English Nature”) previous projects, such as the legal costs to stop Peter Boggis at Easton Bavents Suffolk from erecting his own (privately paid for) sea defences because some ancient fossils may be exposed by cliff erosion and the proposed sea flooding of the low level area from Somerton to Potter Heigham Norfolk.

Full details and how you can support this campaign are on MARINET web-site: under: Coastal Erosion

MIKE KING, Scratby

Mike King has also written to Natural England about this matter on 6th November 2012.

Natural England have replied, 26th November 2012 and we reproduce their reply here.


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