February 2005 Update

Marine Aggregate Extraction Licence Area 401/2 ( A&B )

Renewal Request Public Notice Eastern Daily Press Friday 11th February 2005.

Hanson Aggregate Marine Ltd are making an application for the renewal of the existing licence for a further 15 years. The proceedure is as illustrated below (which is taken from the Environmental Statement supporting the application).

StageDescription
ApplicationWhereby the Applicant applies for a Government View
from the Office for the Deputy Prime Minister.
ConsultationFollowing completion of the Environmental Statement and
Coastal Impact Study, the application is put to consultation
and advertised in local papers and the Fishing News.
ConfirmationA supplement to the ES, summarising the process thus far,
is prepared and sent to the ODPM together with
confirmation that the Applicant wishes to proceed.
AssessmentDEFRA and ODPM discuss the Application and either
makes a decision or initiate further discussion.
Determination
and Decision
Issue of the Government View.

As can be seen from the box headed Assessment DEFRA and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister share responsibility for the granting of dredging licences.

The Coastal Impact Study supplied by the applicant supporting this application was carried out by HR Wallingford Ltd.

I have to hand two company searches carried out on that company at different times. These searches show that of the 18 members of the Board of Directors 2 are listed as in “Government Service” and 4 are listed as “Civil Servant”. One of those Civil Servant Directors is Reginald George Purnell who is the Chief Engineer of DEFRA. He of course is responsible for the Coast Defences around the UK.

I understand that HR Wallingford are also used as consultants by Central Government in the decision making process of granting dredging licences.

Whilst I make no allegation, inference or judgement of HR Wallingford, its Directors or Employees I firmly believe that this situation could be open to conjecture. If this were the case surely the wider Public Interest would be jeopardised no matter how honourable the Company, its Directors or Employees, which I do not question here nor do I question their integrity. However I do feel that impartiality and objectiveness could be seen by some as casualties in this application.

Therefore I would call for this Coastal Impact Study to be withdrawn from the support of the application for licence extension and by extrapolation the licence extension application itself should be withdrawn or refuted.

Notwithstanding all of the foregoing I also have to hand the complete non technical summary of the Environmental Statement which forms part of the application. Of immediate attention and concern to me was paragraph 5 “Need For The Dredging Licence”:

    5. NEED FOR THE DREDGING LICENCE

    A review of supply and demand issues for marine aggregate in the South East
    and London has concluded that landings of marine dredged sand and gravel in
    the South East will need to be maintained, in the long term, at least at the
    current rate of between 10 and 11 million tonnes per annum. In addition to
    maintaining this supply rate, the importance of guaranteeing sufficient
    resources for beach replenishment projects and exports should also be
    considered. During 2000, approximately 7 million tonnes was dredged from
    the coast around the South East and East Anglia, and discharged directly to
    beaches or to wharves in northern Europe.

    In order to meet the expected demands, the construction industry must be
    assured that sufficient supplies of specific mineral types are available upon
    request. It is not the case that the granting of the Area 401/2 licence renewal
    will lead to a material increase in extraction rates – this is a straightforward
    continuation of existing dredging patterns, that will ensure the effective
    maximisation of a proven resource in this area and also allow blending of the
    remaining resources in Area 401/2 with resources from future licence areas.
    The need arises because there must be sufficient capacity in the supply chain to
    respond to changes in demand.

    The resource under consideration in the Area 401/2 licence will provide for the
    continuation of a suitable resource for building materials to meet future
    construction requirements in London and South-East England.

I would very much like to draw attention to the European Union state of the art document dealing with coastal issues the Eurosion Study, www.eurosion.org to which all member States and Municipal Authorities can and should refer when addressing coastal matters and indeed Shoreline Management Plans.

Particularly I would refer to page 45 of the Eurosion Report, paragraph 1.4.5 “Erosion”, under the sub heading “General description” can be found:

    The east coast of the United Kingdom is less exposed to waves and 
    therefore the tide plays a relatively important role, especially in 
    the estuaries in the southern part of the North Sea.

    The main causes of erosion are:

    * Sea Level rise for estuaries
    * Gradients in longshore sediment transport for sedimentary coasts
    * Storm  surges for cliff coasts and dune coasts

Later on page 47 under the sub heading “Erosion due to human interference in the coastal zone” can be found a paragraph entitled “Sand mining and dredging” which contains the following:

    Whereas beach nourishments may have a positive effect on coastal erosion, 
    sediment extraction locally attributes to erosion of the foreshore of the 
    coast and may lead erosion of the beach and dune system on the longer term.

    Local deepening of the seafloor can alter wave patterns and cause gradients 
    in sediment transports, resulting in local erosion.

In the entire main body of the Kelling to Lowestoft Ness Shoreline Management Plan there is but one minor reference to offshore dredging:

    Whether or not there are links between offshore dredging and coastal erosion is uncertain.

That, it seems to me, is in direct conflict with the Eurosion Study which is much more certain of the consequences of offshore dredging and its effect on coastal process. Throughout the SMP there is reference to the desire to return to “a more natural coastline” and “natural process”. Quite simply natural process can never take place along the east coast whilst offshore dredging continues in the Humber and East Coast dredging areas.

The SMP also identifies a sediment budget shortfall along the Norfolk coast, depending on which expert you choose to believe, of between 300,000 and 450,000 cubic metres annually leading to beach losses and steepening which in turn leads to erosion of the cliffs and land. Why then do we allow between 10 and 12 million cubic metres, or tonnes, to be removed from the system by offshore dredging off this coast every year?

It seems we, the coastal communities along the east coast, are being forced to sacrifice our coastline, our homes, our businesses and our heritage all without consideration or compensation to ensure supplies of aggregate for London the South East and for export to the Continent where offshore dredging for marine aggregate is banned because it causes coastal erosion.

In short we, the coastal communities along the east coast and elsewhere are being discriminated against in pursuance of profit and gain for others.

Whilst Central Government allows this to continue it is, in my view, in contempt of Article 14 of the Bill of Human Rights.

From dredging activity off the east coast the Government receives app. £52,000,000 in Royalty and tax income annually. Yet they will neither replace sea defences or compensate those who lose property or land. Clearly the Government is not in favour of social justice and every member of it should hang their head in shame, the responsibility is theirs jointly or severally.

The licence extension application noted above MUST be rejected and a moratorium placed on all Marine Aggregate Dredging activity in British Waters.

Please, please, please would every right thinking individual write to the address shown in the Public Notice and condemn this current licence application also write to your MP requesting him/her to raise the dredging/coast defence problem in Parliament.

Malcolm Kerby (26 February 2005)

February 2005 Update

Marine Aggregate Extraction Licence Area 401/2 ( A&B )

Renewal Request Public Notice Eastern Daily Press Friday 11th February 2005.

Hanson Aggregate Marine Ltd are making an application for the renewal of the existing licence for a further 15 years. The proceedure is as illustrated below (which is taken from the Environmental Statement supporting the application).

StageDescription
ApplicationWhereby the Applicant applies for a Government View
from the Office for the Deputy Prime Minister.
ConsultationFollowing completion of the Environmental Statement and
Coastal Impact Study, the application is put to consultation
and advertised in local papers and the Fishing News.
ConfirmationA supplement to the ES, summarising the process thus far,
is prepared and sent to the ODPM together with
confirmation that the Applicant wishes to proceed.
AssessmentDEFRA and ODPM discuss the Application and either
makes a decision or initiate further discussion.
Determination
and Decision
Issue of the Government View.

As can be seen from the box headed Assessment DEFRA and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister share responsibility for the granting of dredging licences.

The Coastal Impact Study supplied by the applicant supporting this application was carried out by HR Wallingford Ltd.

I have to hand two company searches carried out on that company at different times. These searches show that of the 18 members of the Board of Directors 2 are listed as in “Government Service” and 4 are listed as “Civil Servant”. One of those Civil Servant Directors is Reginald George Purnell who is the Chief Engineer of DEFRA. He of course is responsible for the Coast Defences around the UK.

I understand that HR Wallingford are also used as consultants by Central Government in the decision making process of granting dredging licences.

Whilst I make no allegation, inference or judgement of HR Wallingford, its Directors or Employees I firmly believe that this situation could be open to conjecture. If this were the case surely the wider Public Interest would be jeopardised no matter how honourable the Company, its Directors or Employees, which I do not question here nor do I question their integrity. However I do feel that impartiality and objectiveness could be seen by some as casualties in this application.

Therefore I would call for this Coastal Impact Study to be withdrawn from the support of the application for licence extension and by extrapolation the licence extension application itself should be withdrawn or refuted.

Notwithstanding all of the foregoing I also have to hand the complete non technical summary of the Environmental Statement which forms part of the application. Of immediate attention and concern to me was paragraph 5 “Need For The Dredging Licence”:

    5. NEED FOR THE DREDGING LICENCE

    A review of supply and demand issues for marine aggregate in the South East
    and London has concluded that landings of marine dredged sand and gravel in
    the South East will need to be maintained, in the long term, at least at the
    current rate of between 10 and 11 million tonnes per annum. In addition to
    maintaining this supply rate, the importance of guaranteeing sufficient
    resources for beach replenishment projects and exports should also be
    considered. During 2000, approximately 7 million tonnes was dredged from
    the coast around the South East and East Anglia, and discharged directly to
    beaches or to wharves in northern Europe.

    In order to meet the expected demands, the construction industry must be
    assured that sufficient supplies of specific mineral types are available upon
    request. It is not the case that the granting of the Area 401/2 licence renewal
    will lead to a material increase in extraction rates – this is a straightforward
    continuation of existing dredging patterns, that will ensure the effective
    maximisation of a proven resource in this area and also allow blending of the
    remaining resources in Area 401/2 with resources from future licence areas.
    The need arises because there must be sufficient capacity in the supply chain to
    respond to changes in demand.

    The resource under consideration in the Area 401/2 licence will provide for the
    continuation of a suitable resource for building materials to meet future
    construction requirements in London and South-East England.

I would very much like to draw attention to the European Union state of the art document dealing with coastal issues the Eurosion Study, www.eurosion.org to which all member States and Municipal Authorities can and should refer when addressing coastal matters and indeed Shoreline Management Plans.

Particularly I would refer to page 45 of the Eurosion Report, paragraph 1.4.5 “Erosion”, under the sub heading “General description” can be found:

    The east coast of the United Kingdom is less exposed to waves and 
    therefore the tide plays a relatively important role, especially in 
    the estuaries in the southern part of the North Sea.

    The main causes of erosion are:

    * Sea Level rise for estuaries
    * Gradients in longshore sediment transport for sedimentary coasts
    * Storm  surges for cliff coasts and dune coasts

Later on page 47 under the sub heading “Erosion due to human interference in the coastal zone” can be found a paragraph entitled “Sand mining and dredging” which contains the following:

    Whereas beach nourishments may have a positive effect on coastal erosion, 
    sediment extraction locally attributes to erosion of the foreshore of the 
    coast and may lead erosion of the beach and dune system on the longer term.

    Local deepening of the seafloor can alter wave patterns and cause gradients 
    in sediment transports, resulting in local erosion.

In the entire main body of the Kelling to Lowestoft Ness Shoreline Management Plan there is but one minor reference to offshore dredging:

    Whether or not there are links between offshore dredging and coastal erosion is uncertain.

That, it seems to me, is in direct conflict with the Eurosion Study which is much more certain of the consequences of offshore dredging and its effect on coastal process. Throughout the SMP there is reference to the desire to return to “a more natural coastline” and “natural process”. Quite simply natural process can never take place along the east coast whilst offshore dredging continues in the Humber and East Coast dredging areas.

The SMP also identifies a sediment budget shortfall along the Norfolk coast, depending on which expert you choose to believe, of between 300,000 and 450,000 cubic metres annually leading to beach losses and steepening which in turn leads to erosion of the cliffs and land. Why then do we allow between 10 and 12 million cubic metres, or tonnes, to be removed from the system by offshore dredging off this coast every year?

It seems we, the coastal communities along the east coast, are being forced to sacrifice our coastline, our homes, our businesses and our heritage all without consideration or compensation to ensure supplies of aggregate for London the South East and for export to the Continent where offshore dredging for marine aggregate is banned because it causes coastal erosion.

In short we, the coastal communities along the east coast and elsewhere are being discriminated against in pursuance of profit and gain for others.

Whilst Central Government allows this to continue it is, in my view, in contempt of Article 14 of the Bill of Human Rights.

From dredging activity off the east coast the Government receives app. £52,000,000 in Royalty and tax income annually. Yet they will neither replace sea defences or compensate those who lose property or land. Clearly the Government is not in favour of social justice and every member of it should hang their head in shame, the responsibility is theirs jointly or severally.

The licence extension application noted above MUST be rejected and a moratorium placed on all Marine Aggregate Dredging activity in British Waters.

Please, please, please would every right thinking individual write to the address shown in the Public Notice and condemn this current licence application also write to your MP requesting him/her to raise the dredging/coast defence problem in Parliament.

Malcolm Kerby (26 February 2005)

Public opinion sinks coast defence plan

Byline: By Richard Batson (Eastern Daily Press, 16 February 2005)

Coastal defence experts have been urged to go back to the drawing board to work out ways of defending Norfolk’s shoreline.

The call comes from a coastal campaign group which says the weight of public concern over a new sea defence policy, poised to abandon even long-standing defences, means it should be scrapped immediately.

And a local MP, who says people feel as abandoned as their defences, says the issue is so important there should be a Parliamentary debate on it.

About 1000 people have attended public meetings in villages in the front line of the draft shoreline management plan – and have vented opposition to a blueprint which would sacrifice £250m worth of property to the sea between Kelling and Lowestoft over the next 100 years.

Malcolm Kerby chaired the sessions at Mundesley, Overstrand, Bacton and Happisburgh on behalf of the Coastal Concerns Action Group.

He said the SMP had to be rejected when the public consultation deadline ran out at the end of April.

The plan, which would continue if the new SMP failed, provided hold the line policy for many areas, but it too was unworkable because proposed schemes were blocked by lack of funding.

There had to be a middle way between total defences and total abandonment, and experts needed to “go back to the drawing board” – but this time getting local people involved from the start.

Creative thinking could even look at defences that had other uses, such as tourist attractions or harnessing wave energy.

Mr Kerby said the meetings highlighted concerns about blight, which was hitting the value and saleability of homes in the area affected by the SMP.

He had approached the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs over the issue of the Government underwriting the value of property but was still awaiting a response.

While the £250m worth of property loss was large, it was “peanuts” in government funding terms, especially when spread over 100 years.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who attended all the public meetings, said the turnout showed the strength of feeling, adding “people feel abandoned.”

It was wrong for the goalposts to be moved, penalising the generation who happened to own coastal property at the time.

Compensation would remove blight, keep communities alive and help the Government realise that abandoning defences was not the no-cost option it was currently thought.

As well as doing a joint consultation reply with the CCAG, he would seek a Parliamentary debate and tackle Ministers over the whole issue of coastal defence.

Consultation responses can be done on line via the website www.acag.org.uk

‘Sleeping tiger prodded’

Byline: By Richard Batson (Eastern Daily Press, 14 February 2005)

Stunned villagers watched a large slice of their historic clifftop community get swallowed by the sea at the weekend.

It was a table top exercise projected on to a screen in the sanctuary of the parish church at Overstrand.

But the prospect of homes and businesses being lost to coastal erosion could become a chilling reality if a controversial new sea defence strategy gets the go-ahead.

A draft shoreline management plan (SMP) from Kelling to Lowestoft Ness has already sparked anger by seeking to abandon many long-standing sea defences to create a more natural coastline – but at the high price of losing £250m worth of property.

More than 250 Overstrand residents attended the meeting to find out how it affected them, their homes and their businesses.

They were told their picture postcard village had become a carbunkle promontory, which needed to be planed off the map to allow sand to reach beaches further round the coast.

Local streets are lined with fine villas and houses from the Victorian heyday of a place tagged the village of millionaires, whose VIP visitors have included Sir Winston Churchill.

But the sea defences which have shored up the soft cliffs beneath architectural gems are set to be sacrificed under the new SMP.

Over the next 100 years it would see Overstrand lose up to 135 homes and 10 commercial properties, including a pub, hotel, and caravan park.

Erosion lines drawn on to a street map starkly showed the sea chewing off a large chunk of the historic heart of the village stretching back from its popular clifftop café.

Among those raising concerns were Robert and Lorraine Love, of Fakenham, who said they had bought a £167,000 building plot at Paul’s Lane, where they hoped to build their dream home but now wondered if it had become a white elephant.

Meeting presenter Malcolm Kerby, co-ordinator of the Coastal Concerns Action Group (CCAG), said: “You have become a carbunkle.”

He said experts reckoned Overstrand’s defences were stopping 20pc of sediment moving along the coast, where it was needed to bolster other beaches.

They advocated returning to natural processes, but Mr Kerby said: “That would be OK if they had not interfered 50 years ago.

“People bought properties behind defences, with the inherent promise they could be maintained.”

Not to do so now was a breach of their human rights.

Mr Kerby said the plan was a “carve up” rooted in the Government’s unwillingness to spend money on coastal defences – as evidenced by next year’s £570m flood and coastal spending, with £47m going to sea defences.

A show of hands indicated huge opposition to the SMP.

After the meeting, North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said similar concerns had been raised at a recent meeting in Mundesley – another well-established holiday village whose defences were set to be eroded under the plan.

Yesterday Cliff Top Café customers said they were appalled at the plans to abandon defences, and were signing a petition on the counter.

Owner Sylvia Williams said she was angry, having bought the business and home next door three years ago, but was determined to fight on, adding “the British don’t give in.”

Mr Kerby said while the CCAG home village of Happisburgh was used to years of fighting for defences, it was new to Overstrand and Mundesley – and quite a shock for the residents.

But having seen the opposition, particularly at Overstrand where they already had a well-organised newsletter, he felt the SMP had “prodded a sleeping tiger.”

February 2005 Comments

Here we go again! We are told by the EU engineers that Offshore Dredging for Marine Aggregate is without doubt harmful to the marine environment as well as “cause or exacerbate coastal erosion” and the UK Government, DEFRA to be precise, has given English Nature **£2,000,000 of our money** to find out whether Offshore Dredging is harmful to the marine environment. I feel absolutely sure any twelve year old schoolchild could have answered that one for free!

On Friday 11th February 05 a public notice appeared in the Eastern Daily Press saying that Hanson Aggregates Marine Ltd. has applied to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for renewal of an existing licence to dredge area 401/2 of the East Coast Area just off Great Yarmouth for a further 15 years. Obviously the dredging companies are not content with the 135,000,000 Tonnes that has been removed from the East Coast fields over the previous fifteen years.

In this part of the world we are currently engaged in consultation over the proposed Kelling to Lowestoft Shoreline Management Plan (SMP). This new SMP is requiring us to sacrifice and lose much of our coastal communities and cultural heritage with absolutely no compensation for the losses incurred over a one hundred year timeframe. The SMP makes the following reference to dredging ” Whether or not there are links between offshore dredging and coastal erosion is uncertain, “.

What on earth is going on , does the British Government really believe we are all stupid? The Hanson request for a fifteen year licence extension must be turned down. There must be an immediate Moratorium placed on all aggregate dredging activity until we are certain of it’s effects on coastal erosion and marine biodiversity.

Malcolm Kerby (13 February 2005)

February 2005 Comments

Here we go again! We are told by the EU engineers that Offshore Dredging for Marine Aggregate is without doubt harmful to the marine environment as well as “cause or exacerbate coastal erosion” and the UK Government, DEFRA to be precise, has given English Nature **£2,000,000 of our money** to find out whether Offshore Dredging is harmful to the marine environment. I feel absolutely sure any twelve year old schoolchild could have answered that one for free!

On Friday 11th February 05 a public notice appeared in the Eastern Daily Press saying that Hanson Aggregates Marine Ltd. has applied to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for renewal of an existing licence to dredge area 401/2 of the East Coast Area just off Great Yarmouth for a further 15 years. Obviously the dredging companies are not content with the 135,000,000 Tonnes that has been removed from the East Coast fields over the previous fifteen years.

In this part of the world we are currently engaged in consultation over the proposed Kelling to Lowestoft Shoreline Management Plan (SMP). This new SMP is requiring us to sacrifice and lose much of our coastal communities and cultural heritage with absolutely no compensation for the losses incurred over a one hundred year timeframe. The SMP makes the following reference to dredging ” Whether or not there are links between offshore dredging and coastal erosion is uncertain, “.

What on earth is going on , does the British Government really believe we are all stupid? The Hanson request for a fifteen year licence extension must be turned down. There must be an immediate Moratorium placed on all aggregate dredging activity until we are certain of it’s effects on coastal erosion and marine biodiversity.

Malcolm Kerby (13 February 2005)

Speak up and we’ll be heard

Byline: By Edward Foss (Eastern Daily Press, 09 February 2005)

If enough people speak up about a controversial coastal plan, which effectively abandons parts of Norfolk and Suffolk, it will “fire a massive shot over the bows of Westminster”

That was the message last night as the first of four meetings run by the Coastal Concern Action Group (CCAG) was launched – with people told it was absolutely vital they took part in consultation about the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP). The meetings will continue later in the week at Mundesley and Overstrand, with the final gathering at Bacton on Monday.

As about 200 people packed into St. Mary’s Church in Happisburgh last night, they were told repeatedly that each and every one of them must take personal responsibility and contribute to the consultation.

The draft plan effectively suggests changing from ‘hold the line’ to ‘managed retreat’ at all but the larger towns between Kelling and Lowestoft.

If it were to be introduced in its current form it would lead to the eventual abandonment of many established defences, resulting in £250m-worth of property being lost.

Last night’s meeting was organized bay CCAG co-ordinator Malcolm Kerby and featured contributions from villagers and politicians, including North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and his Tory adversary at the next election Iain Dale.

Explaining the importance of the four meetings, Mr Lamb said: “Both Malcolm Kerby and I felt this whole consultation process would glide by with those people directly affected not being involved at all.

“I think it is very important we get across just how concerned people are.

“Whatever they call this, it is effectively an abandonment of the coastline.”

Mr Kerby presented some of the projected scenarios for the area, which look as afr as 100 years ahead.

Indicating the north wall of the church, he said: “By 2055, the sea will be lapping that wall there.”

He went on to urge everyone present to complete a response to the consultation process.

Mr Kerby said adopting the plan would be like “taking a flying leap in the dark”.

“Let them know how it’s going to ruin your life, how it’s going to take away everything you worked your whole life for. Everything you own hinges on this,” he said.

“If there are four adults in your household, that means four letters.”

When he asked the audience to indicate if they would like to see the plan rejected, everyone in the church appeared to put their hand up.

Sue Stockton, the district councilor for the area, had earlier asked the audience if they would like her to vote against the plan when it came up for discussion at North Norfolk District Council later in the year. Again she appeared to have full support.

Jim Whiteside, who runs the CCAG website, said that because of the SMP he did not know what the future held and added: “I want my future back.”

He also said he felt the plan was designed to “bamboozle” ordinary people, meaning they would not respond to it because of its complexity.


Shoreline roadshows underway

The first in a series of roadshows explaining the shoreline management plan was held at Corton yesterday.

Under the controversial policies, a large proportion of the small parish will be lost in the next 100 years.

By 2105, a total of 90 houses will be lost, along with 25 businesses, seafront holiday sites, the coast road, Methodist church, village pub and village hall.

Exhibition organizer Terry Oakes said he hoped the session would help local people understand the proposals and provide a chance to have their say.

Terry Morris, whose home overlooks the sea defences, said: “I think it is a lost cause. People should accept these plans and concentrate of pressurising the Government for compensation.”