Fears for Dingle marshes
08:00 03 January 2007
A SEARCH has started to identify a potential wildlife area to compensate for the “inevitable” loss to the North Sea of freshwater habitat on part of the Suffolk coast.
The Suffolk Wildlife Trust said that it believed the shingle bank in front of Dingle Marshes, between Dunwich and Walberswick, could not be protected in even the short term.
The Environment Agency also said it believed that maintenance of the existing line of defence was unsustainable in practical terms and economically.
The agency has - at a cost of £20,000 - just finished repairs to four breaches in the shingle bank caused by a North Sea surge a few weeks ago.
The breaches occurred only weeks after the agency had spent £23,000 on bolstering defences along the same stretch of coast.
Julian Roughton, wildlife trust director, said it was likely that more breaches would occur before the winter ended and maintaining the same line of defence was “unsustainable”.
Mr Roughton said the area, part of a designated National Nature Reserve , would still remain important for wildlife but the freshwater habitat could not survive.
However, officials are hoping that the most important part of Dingle Marshes - the inland reedbed - can be protected.
Ann Havard , Environment Agency spokeswoman in Suffolk, said officials believed that maintaining the present line of sea defence at Dingle Marshes - the shingle bank - was “unsustainable”.
“We are currently holding consultations over the future strategy for flood defences in the Dunwich and Walberswick area and the results of this should be available in April,” she added.