A ROPE fence is being installed along a popular stretch of the East Sussex chalk cliffs this month.
The new fence is being put in place to remind visitors to stay away from the cliff edge following concerns about rock falls and increasing incidents of some visitors standing close to the cliff edge to take photographs.
Installing the fence will also enable grass and other flora to regenerate without impairing the beauty of the area or obscuring the views out to sea.
The one-metre-high fence will be formed of two sections, one of approximately 500 metres near Light House Point at Beachy Head, and another around 600 metres from Belle Tout eastwards.
The fence is being installed on behalf of the Coastal Safety Partnership which includes local authorities, HM Coastguard and other public bodies and landowners.
A similar fence was successfully installed on part of the clifftop at nearby Seaford Head in 2017.
Rock falls happen along the Sussex chalk cliffs throughout the year but following the recent record-breaking temperatures and low rainfall, residents and visitors are being urged to pay particular attention to the safety advice.
The chalk cliffs are extremely unstable, with many unseen overhangs and cracks meaning large chunks can fall off without warning.
Cliff falls also pose a danger to people walking or sitting close to the base of the cliffs. Each year thousands of tonnes of chalk fall from the cliffs, crashing down onto the beaches below.
In addition, people walking along the beaches beneath the cliffs are reminded to be aware of the tide times as it is possible to get cut off by the incoming tide or be forced to walk too close to the base of the cliffs to avoid the rising sea water.
Anyone thinking of walking on the beaches below the cliffs is reminded to check the tide times at www.tidetimes.org.uk before setting out.
A spokesperson from the Coastal Safety Partnership said: “We welcome the trialling of a rope fence to remind people of the need for caution and common sense when visiting the Sussex chalk cliffs. Though beautiful, the white cliffs are extremely unstable and can give way at any time with no warning.
“Visitors should not under-estimate the risks they are taking when they stand on top of the cliffs or walk along the cliff base and should also remember it is very easy to be caught out by the incoming tide when walking on the beach.
“We hope this initiative will help keep people safe and encourage local flora to regenerate without impacting on the natural beauty of the area.”
If people see anyone in danger or witness someone who has fallen from the cliffs, they are urged to call 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard and not attempt to rescue them.