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Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham calls for more funding for sea defences

PUBLISHED: 12:05 13 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:05 13 June 2018

The cliffs at Hemsby which were eroded by the Beast from the East Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The cliffs at Hemsby which were eroded by the Beast from the East Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

MPs called for extra funding for sea defences when they debated coastal erosion.

One of the homes which had to be demolished. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY One of the homes which had to be demolished. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Erosion threatens 17pc of Britain’s coastline - much of it along the east coast.

Opening a Westminster Hall debate Kirstene Hair, Conservative MP for Angus, Scotland, said more than 700 properties could be lost by the 2030s.

“In 2013 and 2014, storms and extreme tides caused erosion that experts believed would never happen,” she added. “But it has happened, and even quicker than they thought as it occurred almost overnight.”

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham called for extra funding for communities under threat from the sea.

A house teeters on the cliff edge at Hemsby Picture: DENISE BRADLEY A house teeters on the cliff edge at Hemsby Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“East Anglia suffered serious floods as the result of surge tides in 2013,” he said. “The private sector has financed a lot of the recharging of the beaches through a community interest company in my constituency, but does she agree that will not be enough in future and that there will have to be some form of ring-fenced funding?”

Miss Hair said she was calling on the government for extra funding, adding: “It is time that government at all levels took the issue more seriously.”

Sir Henry said West Norfolk council and other authorities would soon be losing their revenue support grant from central government. He added funding needed to be set aside for sea defences after that happened.

DEFRA Minister George Eustice said: “In March this year, we all saw the dramatic pictures from Hemsby when the “beast from the east” struck the coast of Norfolk. That county has a dynamic coastline, which has been retreating progressively over past centuries, but on that occasion the concentrated power of wind and sea eroded nearly 5 metres of shore along a 700-metre frontage, leaving 13 homes balanced precariously above the sea.”

He added the government had decided it could not defend every part of our coastline from erosion. Decision making was devolved to councils, which drew up shoreline management plans.

He added: “We put significant investment into coastal erosion prevention.

“In England, between 2015 and 2021, our plans will see £885 million invested in projects to manage coastal erosion and better to protect communities against flooding from the sea.”

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