SEAFORD: Cuckmere estuary worth £2m a year

A NEW study has indictated that the economic value of the Cuckmere Estuary is estimated to be in the region of £2 million a year.

The report is one of four pieces of research which have been commissioned as part of the Cuckmere Pathfinder Project.

The aim of the project is for East Sussex County Council, who commissioned the latest study, to work together with the community to reach a consensus on the best approach to managing flood risk at the Estuary.

The other studies examine the visitors, heritage and landscape of the Cuckmere.

The scheme got underway after the Environment Agency announced it was to go ahead with its plan to withdraw sea defences at the popular beauty spot.

The new research is being carried out in two phases.

The first phase looks at the current situation in the Cuckmere, while the second, to be published in April, will look at what might happen in future.

Local residents had an opportunity to meet the research teams and share their views on the first phase of the research at a public evidence event held in February which was attended by more than 60 people.

Andy Robertson, of East Sussex County Council, said, “Although there is a wealth of information and research available about the Cuckmere estuary and coastal change, a review of the existing research revealed there are some gaps in our knowledge about the economy, visitors, heritage and some specific landscape issues.

“These new research projects are intended to plug those gaps.

“We hope they will be useful in helping members of the community decide how to secure the best long-term future for the estuary.

“We had an excellent turn-out for the first evidence meeting, and are pleased that 95 per cent of people felt it gave them a good opportunity to share their views.

“We will be sharing the second stage of the research at the next evidence event on April 5, and there will be a major public event on June 7, at which all of the options for the future will be presented and discussed.

“It’s not too late to take part, and we would strongly urge people to get involved in this project and to have their say.”

Copies of all of the new research reports are available in Eastbourne and Seaford libraries or online at: http://www.cuckmerepathfinder.org.uk/About-project/New-research.aspx.

A report of the public evidence event is also now available on the website.

Anyone interested in attending future events or getting involved in the project should register via the website at www.cuckmerepathfinder.org.uk, or by calling Lucy Auger on 020 9821 6500.