New hope for threatened property owners

Homeowners threatened with losing their properties to coastal erosion have been given a 'groundbreaking' ray of hope they could get compensation.For a government minister has signalled to Norfolk campaigners that payouts could be on the cards to individuals whose seaside homes are lost through failing and abandoned defences.

Homeowners threatened with losing their properties to coastal erosion have been given a 'groundbreaking' ray of hope they could get compensation.

For a government minister has signalled to Norfolk campaigners that payouts could be on the cards to individuals whose seaside homes are lost through failing and abandoned defences.

The breakthrough has been welcomed by those on the front line of the long-standing problem who have been battling for preferably better defences, or, if not, social justice for those facing seeing their homes tumbling with the crumbling cliffs.

Communities in danger have already had indications they could get government help under a new 'adaptation toolkit' being worked out by officials, though details remain sketchy.


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But confirmation that individual homeowners could also get assistance has thrilled campaigners in north Norfolk who have been playing a leading role in a battle that has implications across the nation.

The admission came from Defra minister Huw Irranca-Davies during a meeting of the all party group of MPs looking at coastal issues, chaired by north Norfolk Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb.

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When quizzed, by Coastal Concern Action Group co-ordinator Malcolm Kerby - also local, from Happisburgh - about whether the help would extend to individuals, the minister said 'yes.'

Mr Lamb said he was 'amazed', adding 'We don't know if it is going to be good enough, but this is a positive step in an area where Norfolk has led the way.'

Mr Kerby, who has been closely involved with a government think tank on helping communities cope with climate change and erosion, said 'the details will not be known until an expected announcement this summer, but this is groundbreaking.'

His action group's priority remained striving to bolster defences, but that was a tightrope - and compensation was the safety net.

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