Residents and visitors are being urged to take care when visiting the East Suffolk coast after a child was seen playing at the base of cliffs.
Earlier this year, a campaign was launched by Coastal Partnership East in conjunction with HM Coastguard to remind people to stay safe on the coast, especially when walking near cliffs.
East Suffolk Council, through Coastal Partnership East who manage the coast on their behalf, have recently been sent a photo from a concerned member of the public showing a man and young child standing at the foot of the cliffs at Pakefield. These cliffs, along with the rest of the Suffolk coast, are some of the fastest eroding in western Europe and climbing on them or walking close to them can be extremely dangerous.
Cllr David Ritchie, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for Planning and Coastal Management said: “Over the past few months, Coastal Partnership East has received almost daily reports from concerned landowners, businesses and the community about people climbing on eroding cliffs, climbing on top of sea defences and ignoring signs warning of potential dangers.
“This is quite alarming; people are putting their lives, and the lives of their friends and families, in danger. Tragically, there has already been one fatality on the Suffolk coast in 2018 and we are extremely anxious for the community, both locally and visitors to our coast, to take care and help prevent another tragedy. We are urging people to stay away from the base and the tops of cliffs, even if they look stable.”
If you notice anything unusual or dangerous about cliffs or any coastal defences, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an emergency always call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
HM Coastguard has 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. Carry a fully charged mobile phone and tell someone where you are going and what time you will be home. Only use the designated paths, take notice of any warning signs and fences in place, be responsible and don’t take any unnecessary risks.
• 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. Above all, if your dog does fall down a cliff or starts getting swept out to sea, please do not attempt to rescue it yourself. Nine times out of ten your dog will rescue itself and return to shore alive, but tragically some owners do not. Coastguards are trained in all types of rescue on the coast, including dog rescues.
• 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.