Southwold and Reydon are located entirely within a nationally designated Area of Outstanding Beauty. In addition to this special status, the northern and southern borders of the parishes are bounded by Sites of Specific Scientific Interest. Much of the land between these statutorily designated sites and the town of Southwold is demarcated as County Wildlife Sites (CWS). There are also two nature reserves managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust within the parish boundaries.
This special landscape brings responsibilities in its management. The Environment Group monitor both natural and human threats.
Flooding and coastal erosion: The impact of tidal surges, winds and sea level rises challenge the stability of our cliffs and river banks. We seek to obtain the latest information from Waveney District Council and approach the Environment Agency and the Blyth Estuary Group relating to protective measures they plan to take, particularly relating to the north Southwold and south Reydon, and to the banks of the River Blyth. See also Suffolk Coast Against Retreat.
Flash floods from rainfall also impact on the sewage and drainage networks in Southwold. These can affect the quality of our sea water and threaten our Blue Flag award. We have met with Anglia Water about this continuing problem.
Oil spillage from ship-to-ship transfers: Group members have lobbied the Shipping Minister and our MP to change national policy. Although transfers are still permitted in Sole Bay, the number of transfers, and the numbers of tankers parked inshore do seem to have declined. The numbers of ships at anchor are regularly monitored.
Reducing the carbon footprint: Members are exploring the possibility with the Waveney Planning Department of encouraging green measures such as double glazing and solar panels in the Conservation Area.
Dog fouling: The Society has provided dog waste bags free for the general public for some years and distributes over 10000 of these a year.