MASSIVE sections of cliff have fallen into the sea near Skipsea, and locals say they are just “watching and waiting” for more houses to disappear.
Erosion along the East Coast has been a problem for years, but recent high tides, combined with wind and rain, have seen land disappearing faster than ever, and people are being warned to stay away from the cliffs.
Chairman of Skipsea Parish Council Jerry Loft said: “The erosion has been getting worse over the past five or six years, and now we’re getting huge cracks appearing on a weekly basis.
“East Riding Council takes the whole of the coastline and puts a 2.5m average on the erosion, but here it’s going eight, nine, maybe ten foot at a time.
“I would think that if they put groins back in it might take a bit of the force out of the sea, but as it is we’re losing great swathes of land.
“It’s a worry, and I feel that the government could do more to investigate.”
However Mike Ball, principal engineer for East Riding of Yorkshire Council, says that there will be no groins - or, indeed, any other attempts to stem the natural process. He said: “The council has a policy of ‘no active intervention’ on this stretch of the coast. But we keep a very close eye on what’s happening, with regular topographical surveys, and are careful to keep people informed.
“Over the past few years there has been a tendency for longer lengths of coast to be eroded, rather than just individual spots, but whether or not this is attributable to global warming, as some suggest, is impossible to say.”
The cliff tops are lined by caravan sites and holiday parks, but many are getting smaller by the year, as bit by bit they crumble into the sea.
Keith Gill, Chairman of the Skipsea Beach and Social Club, has seen their building get closer and closer to the cliff edge over the last eleven years. Although he reckons it’s still a couple of hundred yards inland, the eventual result is inevitable. Mr Gill said: “The coast is just going, and going, and going.
“When you look at it it’s just soil and stones, and the high tides batter it and there’s nothing to hold it in place.
“I suppose something could be done about it but it comes down to money - it’s all about costs.”
Asked if he was worried about the safety of the club building, Mr Gill replied: “The Environment Agency come down every month to do a check. There are bungalows very close to the cliff edge now, even though they have long gardens, and they get a report on the erosion and a prediction of how long they will be able to stay.
“There used to be a main road and a bus route and a farm. They’re all gone now. One day we’ll be told that it isn’t safe to stay. We’re already in the process of looking for land in the hope that we can build a new club in the time we’ve got left here. Until then, we’re just watching and waiting.”