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Wave of protest over flood policy

PUBLISHED: 10:26 19 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:28 05 July 2010

A WAVE of objection to Government coastal defence policy could build into a "tsunami" of protest, according to the chairman of a Suffolk group campaigning for a change of strategy.

A WAVE of objection to Government coastal defence policy could build into a “tsunami” of protest, according to the chairman of a Suffolk group campaigning for a change of strategy.

Graham Henderson, chairman of Suffolk Coast Against Retreat (SCAR), told the group's annual meeting that it would continue to campaign for a coastal policy aimed at holding the current line of defences.

“The wave of objection to current Government policy is rolling and building and I hope it will conclude with a tsunami on coastal defence big enough nationally to make Government listen,” he said.

Mr Henderson said it was intended to arrange a major public meeting during 2008 with the speakers to include a spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers.

“Discussion of further nuclear development at Sizewell will provide a good opportunity to demand coastal defence works for the whole Suffolk coast, and not just for the power station itself”, he said.

Mr Henderson said the group would also continue to liaise with other similar organisations along the East Anglian coast.

Guy McGregor, Suffolk county council portfolio holder for roads and transport and chairman of the Blyth Strategy Group, said proposals to abandon flood defences in the estuary were devoid of “integrated thinking” in respect of the impact on other budgets.

The Environment Agency's proposals are likely to lead to an increase in instances of the A12 being blocked by floodwaters.

Mr McGregor said he believed the agency's decisions had been based on money, not on policy or science.

Suffolk County council intended to form part of a delegation led by Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer, a former Environment Secretary, to see the relevant minister before the end of February, he added.

Mr Gummer told the meeting that the issue of compensation for property lost as a result of coastal retreat. The spectre of the European Human Rights act should lead the Government to a proper costing for coastal defence.

“The Government should undertake measures now to tackle climate change as the costs will be higher later,” he said.

Mr Gummer said it was crucial to circulate publicity so that the general population realised the need to save the shorelines for their visits and holidays.

Graham Henderson was re-elected as SCAR chairman with David Andren and Sue Allen as deputy chairs and Anne Page as secretary.

It was agreed that a subscription fee of a minimum £50 would be solicited from organisations, and a minimum £10 from individuals.

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