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Challenges of coastal erosion and flooding set for discussion by councillors

Norfolk County Council, 15 February 2024 16:19

Norfolk councillors are being invited to renew their call for a dedicated Minister for the Coast, as well as funding from central government for flood defences for Norfolk.

Norfolk County Council's Infrastructure and Development Select Committee will be considering a report on Coastal Erosion and Flooding in the county at their meeting next Friday, forming an update to the previous examination of the issue by the council's Scrutiny Committee in November last year.

Cllr James Bensly, Chair of the Infrastructure and Development Select Committee, said: "There are parts of Norfolk where we can see our coast disappearing before our eyes: while we can't turn back tides or change the flow of the North Sea, we can put in place sensible defences and work to lessen the impact of erosion on our communities.

"But that's not a simple matter: it involves many partners, and requires fair and sustainable funding for sea defences. We need to keep councillors and the public updated on what's being done, but also the reality that we need a clear and continuous commitment from central government to make coastal issues a priority."

The report recommends that councillors support the lobbying of central government for more funding for coastal erosion schemes, as well as support the appointment of a Minister for the Coast to give coastal communities a champion sitting within government who can take a holistic view of the challenges and opportunities that such communities face, especially coastal erosion and flooding.

Securing a commitment to such an appointment would give confidence that coastal issues are recognised at the heart of government and that solutions to the threats these communities face will be addressed.

The report spells out the challenge posted by coastal erosion along Norfolk's 90 miles of coastline, including the predictions of possible sea level rises of up to 1.15m by the end of the century. To compound the challenge, Norfolk has part of the fastest eroding coastline in North-West Europe.

Without action, it's estimated that in North Norfolk alone approximately 1,030 residential and commercial properties could be lost to erosion by 2105.

The Infrastructure and Development Select Committee meeting will be held at 10am on Friday 23 February, just over three weeks after the Leader of Norfolk County Council, Cllr Kay Mason Billig, visited Westminster to lay out the need for a new Minister for the Coast to MPs.

Papers for the meeting, which will be livestreamed on the Norfolk County Council Democratic Services YouTube channel, can be found online. View the papers for the meeting.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 13:21

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