Maintenance costs unsustainable for Seaford beach

Letter to Norman Baker MP

Dear Norman, as you know over the past few years I have been attempting to bring to attention the worryingly deteriorating condition of Seaford Beach, specifically due to the Environment Agency’s method of maintenance of the past 25 years.

To date no progress has been made in a change to this maintenance method – the EA is still of the opinion that it is the most cost effective one available to it.

Clearly and not surprisingly the cost to the tax payer (we, the general public) of this maintenance scheme is increasing year on year which, by definition, means it is unsustainable.

Not only is the existing scheme unsustainable, it is also resulting in a steady decline in the ability of the beach to prevent a major flooding event of Seaford, through a corresponding steady decline in the structure and integrity of the beach – to the point that it is hazardous, and at certain states of the tide dangerous, to the user, particularly the frail and children who are not likely to be the strongest swimmers.

In order to bring some additional weight to this very concerning situation, I have been running a petition calling for a change to beach maintenance and a serious debate on possible alternatives.

The petition has now in the region of 3,000 signatures and has therefore, in my view, gained a critical mass. Most of the signatories of the petition are local residents, your prospective electorate.

The EA has now admitted that the building of higher and steeper beaches to prevent flooding is not sustainable long-term and that indeed alternative approaches have to be found – I obviously fully support this view. I have myself put forward well reasoned alternatives which not only would be sustainable but would both make for a more robust flood defence and a safer beach for all.

I ask that, yet again, you bring the subject of Seaford Beach maintenance to the attention of the highest authority within the EA to see whether, now, a serious debate can be held – the many hundreds of your prospective electorate who are unquestionably as concerned as myself surely deserve this.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jim Skinner