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East Anglia Coastal Erosion

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Bryony Neirop Reading stares down the cliff from her garden footpath. All this brave lady wants is permission to defend her home against coastal erosion.



"Can Britannia still rule the waves?

Whilst New Zealand is using trees to defend its coastline, the UK Government has been advised to adopt a policy of managed retreat due to rising sea levels, which effectively abandons its coastal communities to the onslaught of coastal erosion. We have a feasible cost-effective plan for the immediate to long term...



New Zealand coastal erosion case study, August 2006. The Important Role of Trees in Combating Coastal Erosion, Wind and Salt Spray – A New Zealand Case Study Peter Berg, NZ Forestry Limited.




Pocket Full Of Acorns invites the media to engage the public,  coastal land owners  and stakeholders in a media-led tree seed gathering and planting scheme which benefits everyone concerned and communicates positive action that everyone can take part in.

The aim of the project is to encourage the owners of land and property at risk of coastal erosion, through all media outlets, to allow these areas to be turned over for woodland and forestry, explaining the importance of coastal woodland for combating erosion and stabilising soil.

Bringing stakeholders to the table to explain how coastal trees and vegetation increases precipitation and prevent drought. The reverse of which is self evident in many countries and continents. Once coastlines are cleared of trees, the soil dries rapidly and heats up under the sun. This causes thermals to rise which prevent clouds and fog from crossing onto the land, channeling clouds around the coastline, causing inland farming areas to be affected by drought.

To establish efficient sea defences and prevent coastal erosion we should turn to nature for answers. Trees and their roots are effective for establishing stability in soft soils. For billions of years they have stood the test of time against the elements, shoring up river banks and coastlines. Soil without root support has little chance of standing up to the surf along a coastline, born out by the current erosion rate exceeding 12 metres per year in East Anglia.

Stainless Steel Gabions (filled with stones) and Chain-link with under-membrane will provide instant stability on sloped soil for trees to be planted through the mesh and under-membrane into the soil. After around 3-4 years of growth, the chainlink will require cutting to avoid girdling (strangulation of trees) Additional funding required for follow on maintenance and for further planting along the coastline will be sought through matched funding. We anticipate that further funding will also be achieved when the first coastal woodland is planted and momentum gathers.

Suffolk and East Anglia are again suffering from drought, with less annual rainfall than Jerusalem. The treeless coastline of these regions is subject to severe soil degradation and rapid coastal erosion affecting land and properties.

Man made sea defences are costly and are no longer considered economical. which has led the government to  accept a managed retreat approach. In other words to let nature take its course and sacrifice properties and farmland to the waves. This approach results in compensation claims and costs. So to do nothing about coastal erosion is not only a failure of duty that exposes people to the dangers of land slides it is also a costly exercise. With losses from agriculture through the worst drought since records began, Given the crop failure, flooding and land loss we cannot afford to do nothing.

OASIS and FREdome have opened dialogue with stakeholders to bring people around a table to discuss our natural approach to resisting coastal erosion and drought that in the long term will addresses climate change by sequestering excess Co2 (Carbon Cycling) which can be offset against emissions to encourage sources of funding to enable the project to spread along the coastlines.


Bringing communities together to deliver new coastal woodlands, to prevent coastal erosion and droughts, builds the confidence that drives our economy. Showing by example how we can prevent coastal erosion and protect communities by establishing a natural living sea defence that provides a rich biodiverse wildlife habitat and will stimulate eco-tourism during the months when the holiday trade ends, generating much needed trade and employment through the service industry.

Coastal trees absorb carbon, increases precipitation, which supports agriculture, replenishes reservoirs and rivers, attracts wildlife, which attracts more people and more business.


Trees will continue to thrive and self seed along the planted coastlines, stabilising erosion by providing a natural living sea defence of intertwined root sytems that enhances the composition of soil and adds value to the landscape.
For generations to come, this project will leave a legacy that shows what can be achieved when we work as a community with nature rather than against it.

Stainless steel gabions (Wire Cages filled with stones) will outperform mild steel, resisting seawater for a hundred years or more. Mild steel gabions were used in 1976 and remain protecting the coastline according to: Thorpeness coastal analysis report July 2011 Our approach will use this tried and tested approach and improve on it by substituting mild steel gabions with stainless steel is cost effective and essential to provide effective long lasting coastal erosion protection.

Preventing land and property loss to erosion, together with reducing depreciation will sit well with the stakeholders, some of whom have already responded positively to the prospect of encouraging tree planting along the eroding coastlines of the East of England.

This project will encourage more participation in other coastal regions. The work we will have conducted will provide the model for coastal management that  by example sets out a sustainable community driven template for many nations to follow in order for us to address climate change.

Eco-tourism will continue to increase as the woodlands and forests develop spreading along the coastline. This will bring trade to the retail and holiday industry, which will increase the service industries, which increases employment.

Around year 3 we should begin to see evidence of increased rainfall and soil water content, which will be born out by farmings produce / yields and irrigation use, inland from the site. Video showing how a small strip of trees that reach the coast draw in moisture from the sea.

Pocket Full Of Acorns is led by the media but run by the community for the community to enhance the environment, increase rainfall and prevent coastal erosion. Businesses will benefit indirectly from participating with regards to positive PR, offsetting carbon emissions, increasing readership of newspapers, improved crop yields, increased tourism etc, as a result of the funding we receive.  I fail to see how a state aid situation could arise because we will not be hiring expert services other than first aid facilities.

We will be relying on cooperation from the water company with regards to a regular supply of treated wastewater for irrigation. We anticipate that this could be achieved by Anglian Water’s participation in the project as Stakeholder sponsors given that they will be interested in testing the theory of increased precipitation from coastal woodland / forest.


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