The Crown Estate has recently supported work which improves general knowledge of the physical processes off the Suffolk coast. The objective of the most recent study, carried out for The Crown Estate by HR Wallingford, was to provide a new baseline of information for the stretch of coastline from the mouth of the river Deben, northwards to Shingle Street and thus including Bawdsey and East Lane.
The study involved a review of past shoreline, profile and seabed changes; a wave assessment (using Met Office data) to provide a near-shore time series; and numerical modelling of shoreline evolution, to investigate how long shore shingle transport and plan-shape of beaches are likely to change in the future. Such information is required before options for future management of this coastline can be explored on a sound basis.
The report shows that long shore drift rates are very variable, with large volumes of material moving both northwards and southwards, with the net flow north of East Lane being northwards and a variable drift divide in the vicinity of East Lane. An interesting finding, with consequences for the planning and design of future marine developments elsewhere, is that the net drift rates (closely connected to dominant wave directions) have a good correlation with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), thus linking global climate processes with everyday occurrences off the Suffolk coastline.
This is a stretch of coast Morley Riches & Ablewhite have been observing in its capacity as managing agent for the Crown’s Coastal Estate in East Anglia.
The full report can be downloaded at http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/energy-minerals-and-infrastructure/research/seabed-and-coastal-research/reports/