Tidal Surge And Sea Wall Near Hill House Farm Shotley – Jan 2014

The sea wall near Hill House Farm, Shotley has been damaged,  presumably as a result of tidal surge.  6 weeks on why has EA not started repairs?

Here is a picture take from near southern end of the sea wall on the west side of the Orwell, looking south towards Felixstowe and Harwich.  You can see rubbish behind the wall which presumably was washed over by the tidal surge on 6 December 2013.

I wonder if dredging to extend Felixstowe made things worse.


EA plan to knock a hole (or manage realign) a section of the wall in an attempt to create saltmarsh.  Looking to the east side of Orwell a hole has already been made.  It is important most of the sea wall remains otherwise the tidal flow would mean no saltmarsh is created.


There is still saltmarsh outside the sea wall.


Here are are two examples of damage to the wall.


And here’s a larger example of damage.

largerDamageShotleyIt seems as the surge went over the wall it knocked down some of the material on the landward side.  In the background you can see there is plenty of low lying land which would readily flood if the sea wall breached (or as EA call it unmanaged realignment)


I counted about 58 examples of damage along the wall, about 1/2 were minor.


This seemed to be the worst, even so it doesn’t seem there will be a problem unless/until there is another surge.



Most of the damage was to the land side of the wall, here is one example of the sea side being damaged.


Putting rocks at the base of a wall is a great way to stop saltmarsh growing.


Looking south to Felixstowe and Harwich again.





I have roughly (very) marked the extent of low lying land behind the sea wall.  It seems to me you would have to be insane to allow the sea wall to breach as the sea would very quickly flood this land approximately doubling the width of the river.

As well as the dredging at Felixstowe, the Orwell is dredged to allow ships to reach Ipswich.  Doubling the width of the river would no doubt affect the depth of the river.


Mark Johnson,  Area Coastal Manager for the Eastern Area of Anglian Region of Environment Agency, describe this location as

suffering major damage during the recent coastal surge

but is it major damage?  How much will it cost to repair?  One, at most two days with a digger,  clay is already on site which should make cost of filling holes less than £1000 a repair (in the private sector & excluding digger transport to and from site).  Alternatively 4 people could fill and stack  about 100 sandbags into the hole in less than a day as temporary support.

My pictures were taken on Friday 23 January 2014.

I believe locals either plan to hire,  or have already hired, a 12 tonne digger for the weekend.

I been invited up to see how much can be achieved with just one digger in a weekend.

I think another visit, more photos and another post are all called for.



Here is a clip of EA talking excitedly about a plan to flood 100 acres of  Hill House Farm by river Orwell near Shotley.  This represents about 1/5  of the farm which seems quite a large amount to lose, in a time of rising food shortages.

In the video you hear Karen Thomas from EA stating with absolute certainty

salt marsh loss is caused by sea level rise

They call this coastal squeeze. Bit of a strange thing to say as both EA and NE (Natural England) have conducted saltmarsh surveys recently and found saltmarsh growing back despite rising sea levels, perhaps no one told Karen.

The farmer will be compensated for not farming part of his farm.

It is important for people in UK to understand that such schemes are being promoted all around UK.  The total cost, compensation and engineering, has been estimated to be £2.6 billion.



This entry was posted in Climate Change, Coastal Squeeze, EA, Salt Marsh Erosion, Sea Level, SMP and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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