Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Agency boss told of erosion fears

Volunteers piling sandbags at Tinkers Marsh dam
Local volunteers took two days to repair the dam on the Blyth Estuary

The head of the Environment Agency has been in Suffolk to see for himself the extent of coastal erosion on the area.

Lord Smith took a boat across the River Deben at Bawdsey where he was told about the defence work taking place.

He heard how three local landowners sold off land to help to pay for defence works to continue.

Lord Smith said: "I think what is happening here... is a rather imaginative way of bringing together private and public money."

He also visited the Blyth Estuary near Southwold where residents have been calling for the government to spend more on protecting the coast.

Earlier this year volunteers carried out repairs to a dam on the estuary which had been breached by storm surges.

Chris Smith visited Bawdsey and the Blyth Estuary at Southwold

More than 2,000 sandbags were filled at Walberswick Quay and taken upriver in small boats, also provided by locals.

The Environment Agency said it would not have been economical to fix the dam with public funds.

Lord Smith said during his visit: "I want to try and make sure the Environment Agency can help to protect as much as we possibly can along the coast.

"We know resources will never be infinite and so we need to try and make sure we can make the money go as far as it possibly can, and that means looking at all other sources of money to bring to the table as well as that which the Environment Agency can."

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