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New campaign urges people to ‘stay safe’ on coast

PUBLISHED: 11:49 03 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:49 03 October 2020

Warning signs urge people to stay safe on the coast and near the eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick Howes

Warning signs urge people to stay safe on the coast and near the eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick Howes

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A new campaign is urging people to stay safe on the coast.

The eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick HowesThe eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick Howes

With the Met Office having issued a yellow weather warning for heavy rain across Norfolk and Suffolk this weekend, people are being urged to take extra care if they visit the coast.

East Suffolk Council’s coastal management team and HM Coastguard has issued warnings to people to stay away from eroding cliffs and not to climb on sea defences as they encourage locals and visitors to stay safe.

Warning signs urge people to stay safe on the coast and near the eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick HowesWarning signs urge people to stay safe on the coast and near the eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick Howes

A council spokesman said: “Throughout the Covid-19 restrictions, and particularly since early summer, East Suffolk Council’s coastal management team has received almost daily reports from concerned landowners, businesses and the community about people climbing eroding cliffs, climbing on top of sea defences and ignoring signs warning of potential dangers.”

With posters placed locally, the campaign has been launched on social media.

The Stay Safe On Our Coast posters. Picture: East Suffolk CouncilThe Stay Safe On Our Coast posters. Picture: East Suffolk Council

It comes following similar warnings from coastguards and East Suffolk Council earlier this year that urged people to avoid walking near the cliffs at Pakefield in Lowestoft and to take care when walking near stretches of eroding cliffs.

Suffolk Highways closed parts of two footpaths in Lowestoft due to “the current instability of the cliffs” and a council spokesman said: “We are working closely with the community in Pakefield to put in place temporary solutions ahead of the winter months.

Warning signs urge people to stay safe on the coast and near the eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick HowesWarning signs urge people to stay safe on the coast and near the eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick Howes

“One such solution, using existing material on the beach, is being taken forward.

“In addition, funding has recently been awarded to help us to identify what longer-term options will be suitable for Pakefield.

The eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick HowesThe eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick Howes

“We are working closely with the community to progress this work.”

David Ritchie, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for planning and coastal management said: “There are many miles of beautiful coastline in Suffolk to explore but this is also some of the fastest eroding coast in western Europe.

The eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick HowesThe eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick Howes

“Our cliffs are soft and sandy, and it is concerning that people are climbing on them or walking close to the base where they may come to harm.”

An HM Coastguard spokesman added: “It’s understandable that people want to explore the secret gems around our beautiful coastline, but it’s not worth risking your life for.

The eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick HowesThe eroding cliffs at Pakefield. Picture: Mick Howes

“We want people to make sure their experience is one to remember and not one they would rather forget.

“Don’t risk your safety by climbing down cliffs and remember that cliffs along the UK coastline are constantly eroding.

A map detailing the footpath closures at Pakefield in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesA map detailing the footpath closures at Pakefield in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

“We can’t stress enough how important it is to keep back from the edge.”

If you notice anything unusual or dangerous about cliffs or any coastal defences, please email coastalmanagement@eastsuffolk.gov.uk.

In an emergency always call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Safety advice

HM Coastguard has issued the following safety advice:

■ Do not attempt to climb up or down cliffs unless you are properly equipped and trained to do so and do not attempt to climb cliffs as a short cut back to the top and again.

■ Make sure that you are properly equipped for walking along coastal paths. Remember to wear sturdy shoes or boots and check the weather forecast and tidal times before you set out.

■ Try and keep your dog on a lead near cliffs. If they pick up the scent of an animal or hear something on the coast below it doesn’t take much for them to follow their nose.

■ When standing at the bottom of a cliff, we would always advise people that they should not stand less than the height of the cliff away. That means that if the cliff is 25 metres high, don’t go closer than 25 metres towards it.


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