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Engineers urged to develop innovative erosion mitigation

Flood defence engineers must be more innovative and take more risks when coming up with solutions to mitigate the risk of coastal erosion.

That was the view of Suffolk Coastal District Council coastal futures officer Bill Parker, speaking at NCE’s Flood Management conference last week.

He was speaking a day ahead of the tidal surge that was expected to cause widespread disruption along the coastline for which he is responsible.

Parker said that more radical solutions should be trialled in the face of climate change and budget constraints.

“There are places where we don’t believe we can hold the line post-2025. It would need massive investment which we have got no chance of. So what do we do? We have to take a risk; we have got to do something,” he said.

Parker cited the Waveney Pathfinder project, where homeowners in Easton Barents with homes threatened by coastal erosion are to be offered £15,000 as an incentive for them to buy a plot of land and rebuild their home inland.

The figure has been based on the typical cost of land for affordable housing in the area.

The homeowners will also get a £10,000 non-capital contribution to pay professional fees.

The proposed scheme, which is funded by a government grant, is currently out to consultation. The Pathfinder board is to meet next week to hear objections.

Parker said the Pathfinder scheme was an example of a project where innovation pays off. “Communities are willing to make sacrifices; if you demonstrate the benefits, people will contemplate change. But you have to be innovative.”

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