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Extreme weather causes huge cracks to appear in cliffs

Recent bad weather conditions have caused huge cracks to open up at the top of cliffs in East Sussex.

Fresh cracks have appeared on the cliffs at Birling Gap near Eastbourne in Sussex, following the bad winter weather. Credit: PA

The National Trust says Britain's winter has caused the chalk cliffs at Birling Gap, near Eastbourne, to suffer around seven years of erosion in just two months and warned walkers to keep away from the cliff edge.

Jane Cecil, National Trust general manager for the South Downs, said of the cracks: "We are likely to see more emerging."

The beach at Birling Gap has been shut since new year after steps leading down to it were damaged in the storms. Credit: PA

The Trust has warned that hard defences, such as sea walls, are unlikely to be the best solution to coping with the forces of nature on our coasts.

More long-term planning is needed to minimise the impact of the changing climate, it advised.