29 March 2002

Old tyres prevent erosion of coast

OLD tyres could form effective sea defences, according to an East Anglian farmer who has used them to protect the bank of his irrigation reservoir.

Farmland all along the regions coast is already being lost to erosion and further losses are forecast as a result of rising sea levels caused by global warming.

Farmer John Hitchcock, of Chapel Farm, Ringshall, Suffolk, believes he may have found a cost-effective way of stopping erosion.

The banks of Mr Hitchcocks water reservoir were being eroded by waves whipped up by the westerly winds, so the farmer drove stout stakes into the foot of the bank and placed old tyres over them in "hoop-la" fashion.

It solved the problem by diluting the power of the waves and now Mr Hitchcock wants scientists and engineers to take up the idea and adapt it for sea defence purposes.

However, Barry Porter, chairman of the Suffolk Preservation Society, said: "It may be a solution, but the visual impact would not be acceptable." &#42

John Hitchcock is using tyres as a sea defence.