Buildings threatened by coastal erosion could be relocated under a new £15 million programme.

North Norfolk District Council has just launched Coastwise - a government-funded scheme aimed at getting coastal communities ready for climate change.

Councillor Harry Blathwayt, NNDC's portfolio holder for coast, said: “The realities of coastal erosion are keenly felt by our coastal communities and businesses - as the climate change progresses, so does the impact on our coastline.

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North Norfolk News: Councillor Harry Blathwayt, portfolio holder for coast at North Norfolk District CouncilCouncillor Harry Blathwayt, portfolio holder for coast at North Norfolk District Council (Image: North Norfolk District Council)“In north Norfolk, we need to prepare our seaside towns and villages and work with our residents to transition alongside these realities.”

Coastwise will not provide compensation for homes lost to erosion, and its aim is not to build sea defences such as walls or rock armour.

But it will look at other ways of helping those at risk, which could involve relocating buildings and replacing damaged facilities such as beach access pathways.

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North Norfolk News: Coastal erosion at HappisburghCoastal erosion at Happisburgh (Image: Newsquest)Under the scheme, communities will be able to have a say in their own “ transition plans”.

A similar scheme is taking place in the  East Riding of Yorkshire, and together they form a Coastal Transition Acceleration Plan (CTAP), which the government has put £36m towards to be used before March 2027.

The council has been recruiting staff members to form its new Coastwise team, including Rob Goodliffe, who has taken the role of coastal transition manager.

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North Norfolk News: The eroding cliffs at Happisburgh, as seen from the airThe eroding cliffs at Happisburgh, as seen from the air (Image: Mike Page)Mr Goodliffe said: “Coastwise will draw from multi-agency expertise in coastal management and work with our communities to help us all transition to our changing coastline.

“Working together, the schemes and innovations we make in North Norfolk will help become the blueprint for coastal transition across the UK, further helping other coastal communities.”

Mr Goodliffe said coastal erosion was speeding up due to rising sea levels and increases in heavier weather. 

He said: “It is expected that the sea level may rise by up to 1.15 metres by 2100.”