Norfolk named as one of the most at-risk areas in the country for coastal erosion

Demolision of the home of Happisburgh resident Bryony Nierop-Reading. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Demolision of the home of Happisburgh resident Bryony Nierop-Reading. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A report has singled out Norfolk as one of the most at-risk areas in the country for coastal erosion - prompting campaigners to argue that more should be done to protect the county's precious beaches.

The view from Happisburgh beach of the sea erosion.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The view from Happisburgh beach of the sea erosion.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Analysis from the Environment Agency (EA) show almost 7,000 homes and buildings across England and Wales will be sacrificed to rising seas over the next century, with north Norfolk and Great Yarmouth identified as having some of the most vulnerable coastline.

According to the EA details, printed in a national paper this week, more than 500 homes in Yarmouth and north Norfolk could be lost to the pounding waves - and buildings will be allowed to fall into the sea because the cost of protecting them would be too high.

But Norfolk campaigners have said more could be done to save their homes and slammed the current plans in place which leave some communities unprotected.

Malcolm Kerby, from the Coastal Concern Action Group, in Happisburgh, said: 'There's simply not enough money being spent or allocated to deal with the problem. They're spending less on the coast now than they were in 2006.'

The figures show 237 homes will be lost to the sea in north Norfolk in the next 100 years, and 293 will be sacrificed in Great Yarmouth.

Mr Kerby slammed the shoreline management plan (SMP), which outlines what action to take against erosion along the coast from Kelling to Lowestoft, from 'no active intervention' to 'hold the line'.

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'They identify how an individual believes the coast is going to change over the next 100 years, and where it predicts there will be losses it offers no way forward,' Mr Kerby added.

Fellow campaigner Robert Stephenson, chairman of the Scratby and California Environment Group – which battled to change the plan covering the villages from no active intervention to managed realignment – was not surprised by the figures.

He said: 'I know living by the sea you have to accept that coastal erosion is one of those things that can happen, but nobody wants to lose their home. And certainly when I bought my place the policy was 'hold the line'. If you want to protect the coastline you can, but it's a matter of finding the money.'

An EA spokesman said £2.3bn was being invested over the next six years, which would see a 'significant' boost in coastal flood and erosion risk management, providing better protection for 15,000 homes.

The spokesman added: 'We work with local authorities, which lead on SMPs, to identify erosion risk management schemes, coastal erosion monitoring and further research on how we best adapt to these changes.'

What do you think? Email edpletters@archant.co.uk with your full contact details.

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