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Setback for coastal erosion campaigner

PUBLISHED: 13:43 20 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 July 2010

A RETIRED engineer has been dealt a blow in his battle to prevent his home from falling into the North Sea after an appeal was upheld.

Conservation watchdog Natural England has today won an appeal against a court judgment to allow the cliffs below Peter Boggis' home at Easton Bavents, near Southwold, to erode naturally.

A RETIRED engineer has been dealt a blow in his battle to prevent his home from falling into the North Sea after an appeal was upheld.

Conservation watchdog Natural England has today won an appeal against a court judgment to allow the cliffs below Peter Boggis' home at Easton Bavents, near Southwold, to erode naturally.

Since 2002, the 78-year-old has spent tens of thousands of pounds installing his own “soft” sea defences built of 250,000 tonnes of compacted clay soil in front of the cliffs near his home.

The work was carried out without planning permission and the Court of Appeal said today that the only lawful course open to Mr Boggis and other members of Easton Bavents Conservation was to apply for permission and go through the correct planning process.

Mr Boggis, whose house, The Warren, is 302ft from the cliff edge, says his sea defences have so far saved more than eight acres of land and four properties “at no cost to the nation”.

He wants to be allowed to maintain his defences to prevent further erosion of the cliffs.

In 2006, Natural England notified a coastal Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) between Southwold in the south and Kessingland in the north.

In the High Court, Mr Justice Blair said the evidence showed that part of the intention of the SSSI was to allow the destruction of Mr Boggis' defences and the rapid erosion of the cliffs behind them.

He said: “I am not unsympathetic to the plight of Mr Boggis and the other residents who can see the cliff face remorselessly approaching the boundaries of their properties.

“But they were aiming at the wrong target in challenging the SSSI. The lawful course would be to apply for planning permission and coastal protection consent so that all material considerations, including their human rights and the SSSI, could be taken into account.”

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