Would-be MPs promise billions to shore up flood defences

Broken sea defences at Happisburgh. Parliamentary candidates in North Norfolk have promised billions

Broken sea defences at Happisburgh. Parliamentary candidates in North Norfolk have promised billions to shore up defences. Picture: Paul Heinrich - Credit: Archant

Flood defences and coastal erosion have been identified as key issues at the general election by parliamentary candidates in North Norfolk.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to create a £5bn flood prevention and adaptation fund.

And the party's candidate for North Norfolk, Karen Ward, said: "Recent floods have already been devastating for some of our coastal communities, and without immediate action more homes, businesses and wildlife are at risk.

"We will create a fund to support small community and council-led schemes for areas at risk like ours."

She warned that leaving the EU would mean the loss of access to vital funds that help maintain and strengthen flood defences.

She added: "We are already working with community leaders to explore natural solutions to coastal flooding, to protect homes and businesses as well as wildlife and our world-renowned fresh and saltwater marshes."

Duncan Baker, Conservative candidate, agreed it was essential to fund flood defences.

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He said: "We must fund parts of the country that are most at risk as climate change brings about more volatile weather patterns, and that includes North Norfolk.

"As your MP I will work proactively and closely with the Environment Agency to ensure our coastal communities get the protection they need.

"I will absolutely support the 12 regional flood and coastal committees."

Labour has pledged £5.6bn to level up flood defences and parliamentary candidate Emma Corlett said "Every year we don't act means higher flood waters, more homes and businesses ruined and more lives at risk. I have campaigned to make flood response a statutory duty for the fire service, and for it to be properly funded to fulfil that duty."

The Brexit party candidate for North Norfolk, Harry Gwynne said that adequate funds would be committed to the enhancement and repair of coastal defences.

He added: "However, unlike much of the work done in this area up to this point it should be guided by our local communities so that the solutions are in keeping with the local landscape, and the needs of local people, businesses, and wildlife. We favour an approach wherein funding comes from central government but projects and their implementation are guided by the local people rather than imposed from on high by central government."

Mark Taylor, for the Greens, who won't be standing as his party has stepped aside to help the Lib Dems, said flooding could only be resolved by working with nature rather than trying to keep it out.

He added: "Hard flood defences are not the answer. They are very expensive, environmentally damaging, provide limited protection to coastal communities and they brea