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Coast fears, as SSSI agreed

PUBLISHED: 07:15 30 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:07 22 October 2010

JONATHAN REDHEAD

Plans for an extended Site of Special Scientific Interest in north Suffolk have been ratified.

The decision, at a meeting in Oxford, by English Nature's council to back its own scheme means an area of land along the coast between Pakefield and Easton Bavents, near Southwold, and the wildlife within it now have legal protection.

Plans for an extended Site of Special Scientific Interest in north Suffolk have been ratified.

The decision, at a meeting in Oxford, by English Nature's council to back its own scheme means an area of land along the coast between Pakefield and Easton Bavents, near Southwold, and the wildlife within it now have legal protection.

But objections from people who feared that homes and land would be lost if the SSSI status was put in place and the cliffs at Easton Bavents were left to be eroded by the sea, were rejected by the council.

Fears had been raised that any sea defence work, including the DIY work of Peter Boggis, dubbed King Canute, would have to end.

However, a statement from English Nature said that by law it had to base any decision on SSSI status on whether the site is of special interest.

Gareth Dalglish, from English Nature's Suffolk team, said he could understand people's concerns, but decisions on sea defence work are made by local authorities.

"People are understandably worried about coast erosion," he said. "But the decision to confirm the SSSI is not a decision to allow the coast to erode. The policy for coast protection is decided by local authorities."

The area was already protected as a SSSI but English Nature had to take the unusual step of re-notifying the site after natural coastal erosion saw the coastline recede behind the original boundaries drawn on the map.

The new Pakefield to Easton Bavents SSSI is nearly eight miles long and will cover more than 1800 acres of land.

The SSSI is renowned as a nationally important area for birds such as the bittern, habitats such as saline lagoons and vegetated shingle and for its geology.


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