Sidmouth: Huge cliff fall sends clouds of dust into the air

Incredible pictures have captured the moment a large cliff crumbled into the water along the county’s Jurassic coastline. Earlier today [August 8] police issued a warning to the public, urging them to stay away from the beach east of Sidmouth due to the unstable cliffs.

Go to devonlive link to watch video

Chloe Parkman

A large chunk of the cliff toppled onto the beach and into the water, resulting in a huge dust cloud which covered part of the seafront. One eyewitness, Lynda, told Devon Live that there were a number of cliff falls in the area before this ‘large’ one took place this morning.

Lynda said: “There were about five or six cliff falls leading up to the large on this morning in Sidmouth.” Rural East Devon Police posted a tweet to remind people not to walk on the beach due to the unstable cliffs.

Devon County Council is urging people to stay away from the cliff edge (Image: Lynda Friel)

The tweet said: “Another large cliff fall this morning. Reminder to beach users not to walk on the beach East of #Sidmouth due to unstable cliffs which could fall at any time.” The area is infamous for dangerous cliff falls and signage at along the edge and on the beach advise visitors to keep well away from the area.

Devon County Council (DCC) confirmed there had been ‘numerous’ cliff falls in the area today and are asking everyone to stay away from the cliff edge, when walking on the south west coast path.

In a statement on Twitter, a spokesperson for DCC wrote: “Please stay away from the cliff edge when walking The South West Coast Path in this area. This area is extremely unstable and dangerous.”

Keep up to date with all of the latest on the cliff falls, here.

Sidmouth cliff fall (Image: Lynda Friel)

Gordon Brown is right – Britain needs an emergency Budget

The task of all governments of whatever political hue is to protect their most vulnerable citizens from hardship. The UK managed reasonably well to do so when the pandemic struck in 2020. It has made a start on trying to do so again when the current surge in inflation took off earlier this year. But it now needs to do more, much more.


Specifically, there has to be emergency action to blunt the impact of the surge in energy prices that will gather pace through the autumn.

Gordon Brown, former chancellor and the prime minister who led the response to the financial crisis of 2008-9, has called for an emergency Budget to tackle this new crisis. It is a thoughtful and helpful intervention. He backs a report by Professor Donald Hirsch, of Loughborough University, which argues that the present measures taken by the government will not be sufficient to make up for the recent surge in living costs.

The report looks at the extent to which the measures already announced will compensate for the additional burden on low-income families, not only from the expected rise in energy prices in October but also from cuts in universal credit and the inadequate uprating of benefits.

Professor Hirsch is an experienced and respected expert on how the state can best tackle social harms. His report has been backed by 56 charities, including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Child Poverty Action Group. It deserves to be taken very seriously.

The debate over the adequacy, or otherwise, of the response of the government to the cost of living crisis has become bound up with the election of the new leader of the Conservative Party and therefore the prime minister. Liz Truss has emphasised the importance of tax cuts rather than “handouts” as a way of reviving the economy. Gordon Brown, however, highlights that this is not simply an economic or political issue. It is a moral one.

He makes the point this way: “We need targeted support for families on the lowest incomes, not just cuts in taxes or flat rate payments, which don’t account for the specific needs of people on the brink of poverty. There should be no argument that a permanent increase in universal credit is the only way to take a sure step towards a solution.

“This crisis goes far beyond politics; this is a moral issue – our responsibilities to our neighbours and in particular to those who have the least and whose needs are the greatest.”

This must surely be right. Let’s see how the two candidates respond. Rishi Sunak is the principal architect of the government’s current plans, and we should hope that he can show flexibility by acknowledging that further measures need to be taken. We should hope that Liz Truss, for her part, is prepared to admit that to target support to the families most in need during a crisis should not be dismissed as giving “handouts”.

This is a truly defining moment in British politics. It is a debate that will shape the future direction of the Tory party, whoever its members choose to be its leader. But more than this, it is one that will determine how well our democracy can respond to a social and economic crisis.

The UK government cannot control global energy or food prices. But it can and must protect its most vulnerable citizens from external shocks of this magnitude. It has the resources to do so. And now, thanks to the work of Professor Hirsch, it has a blueprint of what must be done.

Green flag award for four East Devon parks

Four East Devon’s parks and green spaces have been awarded green flag awards.

Adam Manning

Sidmouth’s Connaught Gardens and Peak Hill Slope, Exmouth’s Manor Gardens, Seaton’s Seafield Gardens and Seaton Wetlands Nature Reserve.

The award is the international quality mark for parks and green spaces and much like the beach award scheme blue flag.

East Devon District Council said its a ‘testament to the hard work and dedication of the teams that make them great spaces looking pretty’.

A spokesman for the authority added: “The awards are the result of the hard work of EDDC StreetScene and Countryside teams, with valuable help from ‘in bloom’ groups and the many volunteers.” 

The staff and volunteers that work together are already busy on new improvements, including a further phase of planting in the autumn which will see the introduction of sustainable perennials and wildlife attracting plants in abundance.

Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC’s portfolio holder for coast, country and environment, said: “The strengths of our parks and nature reserves are the teams that manage them.

“Described by the judges as passionate, knowledgeable and motivated, the StreetScene and Countryside teams are continually improving our sites, providing space for nature by planting wild flowers to benefit pollinators, insects and ultimately birds, providing bird boxes, reducing environmental impacts and have started introducing more drought-resistant species.”

The teams are addressing future climate and biodiversity challenges through sustainable planting, the sowing of wildflower seed, and allowing nature recovery at selected sites.

In addition to this, the council continues to bring in more eco-friendly grounds maintenance equipment in the form of battery operated machinery to reduce emissions and our overall carbon output in maintaining our parks and greenspaces.

The award has been given for 19 years in a row to Connaught Gardens, 18 years to Manor Gardens and Seaton Wetlands, and three years to Seafield Gardens.

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

A full list of Green Flag Award-winning parks and green spaces is available here


Boris Johnson rules out immediate cost-of-living measures

Boris Johnson has no plans to introduce big tax and spending measures before he leaves office to ease the cost-of-living crisis, Downing Street has said.

BBC News 

Business group leader Tony Danker has urged ministers to “grip the emerging crisis”, arguing it “made no sense to wait” for the next PM to arrive.

And Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has called for an urgent meeting with the devolved governments.

Downing Street said it recognised the public were facing “challenging times”.

However, Mr Johnson’s spokesman argued it would be up to his successor to make any decisions on further help.

Mr Johnson is due to leave office in early September, and No 10 said “by convention it is not for this prime minister to make major fiscal interventions during this period”.

Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse said the government had already and was continuing to do work on cost-of-living problems.

“My job is to make sure that when the new prime minister arrives, the plan is in place for them to put their foot on the accelerator,” he told the BBC’s PM programme.

He also dismissed calls from ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown for the government to hold a meeting of the government’s emergency response committee Cobra, arguing that would be “a performative political act”.

Earlier this year, the government announced a £15bn package of support to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

This included giving households a £400 discount on energy bills and £650 for the poorest households to help with wider living costs.

However, the government has come under pressure to do more, following worsening economic warnings.

Last week, the Bank of England forecast that the UK was heading into a recession, with inflation set to hit 13%.

Meanwhile, the energy price cap will go up in October, with industry analysts estimating average domestic energy bills could hit more than £3,600 a year.

Mr Danker, head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said the prime minister and the candidates for the Tory leadership, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, “should come together to agree a common pledge to support people and help quell fears”.

“The economic situation people and businesses are facing requires all hands to the pump this summer,” he said.

“We simply cannot afford a summer of government inactivity while the leadership contest plays out followed by a slow start from a new prime minister and cabinet.”

The CBI – which represents British businesses – said the prime minister should direct the civil service to draw up options on helping the most vulnerable people – and that these options should be made available to both leadership candidates.

The organisation also said Mr Johnson, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss should agree “a way forward to support people and businesses with energy bills” ahead of 26 August, when Ofgem is due to announce the next energy price cap.

Elsewhere, Ms Sturgeon has called for an emergency meeting with Mr Johnson and the leaders of devolved governments, to agree steps to help people.

In a letter to the prime minister, she said the SNP-led government was “committed to doing all we can” but added: “We cannot respond on the scale required without action by your government.”

Writing in the Daily Record, Mr Brown – who was the Labour prime minister between 2007 and 2010 – said the UK faced “a financial timebomb” and urged Mr Johnson, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss to agree “an immediate Budget to prevent a winter heating catastrophe”.

He also said the emergency committee Cobra should be in “permanent session to deal with the coming fuel and energy crisis”.

Speaking to the BBC’s World This Weekend programme on Sunday, Mr Brown said there was “a vacuum” in government because “the prime minister is on holiday, the chancellor is on holiday, the two leadership candidates for prime minister are on the campaign trail.”

Asked if Mr Johnson – who has returned from a holiday in Slovenia – would summon a meeting of Cobra, No 10 said it would be up to Mr Johnson’s successor to make any decisions on further support for households.

The spokesman also said there were no plans to recall Parliament, but that Mr Johnson and his Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi are meeting this week to discuss progress on the support measures already announced.

Responding to No 10’s comments, Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said “people are worried sick about how they’ll pay their bills… and all this Tory prime minister does is shrug his shoulders”.

She said the two leadership candidates could only “offer more of the same”, adding: “Labour would start by scrapping tax breaks on oil and gas producers and providing more help to people who are struggling to pay their energy bills.”

Meanwhile, the two MPs hoping to take over the leadership have been criticising each other’s plans to address mounting living costs.

Mr Sunak has warned that the plans of his rival Ms Truss “won’t touch the sides”.

Supporters of Ms Truss say her proposed tax cuts would help people, but did not rule out offering further support.