November 2008 – London, Reading and Holland

This has indeed been an extremely busy week.

Environment Agency

On Tuesday 25th Nov I was part of a contingent from North Norfolk which met with Lord Smith of Finsbury, the recently appointed Chairman of the Environment Agency (EA), along with the recently appointed Chief Executive Paul Leinster and senior staff.

The meeting was requested and organised by Norman Lamb M.P. our local Member of Parliament. I was also pleased to see Tony Wright M.P. (Great Yarmouth) present.

It was very heartening to hear Lord Smith acknowledge the extreme problems for individuals and communities faced with a change of current coast protection policy and it’s application.

Good to hear from him that he believes the EA must pursue the matter of compensation for those affected , something CCAG has been calling for over many years. Along with this Lord Smith expressed a strong desire to switch the perception that the EA is undertaking a broad policy of abandonment of defences in many areas to one of trying to hold the line where possible.

DEFRA

From London I went to Reading where, on Wednesday, I took part in a DEFRA workshop on adaptation measures. This was one of a number I have attended and very much put the peoples view. These events are attended by representatives from a wide spectrum of government departments. We shall have to wait and see what form government’s adaptation package will take, however I can certainly say that all departments are now aware of the problems and hardship faced by individuals and communities on the coast which the present coastal policy is causing.

Holland

From Reading I went directly to Holland for a series of fact finding meetings with relevant government departments and experts responsible for Dutch coast protection and water management. The trip was organised by Coastnet (www.coastnet.org.uk ) who act as secretariat on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coastal and Marine issues. The British contingent was Norman Lamb MP, North Norfolk (Chairman APPG), Graham Stuart MP, Beverley and Holderness (Vice Chairman APPG), Dr Theresa Reading (Coastnet) and myself (CCAG, external member APPG).

The day started at the Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat with an excellent presentation from their team and much discussion with many questions from us.

We then moved on to Delft with presentations from senior engineers and coastal specialists at Deltares NL, a consultancy of world wide renown situated almost within the campus of Delft University. Again excellent presentations and many questions from us over a very welcome lunch.

Next stop was the Headquarters of Provincie Zuid Holland one of the major provincial government centres with a population of approximately 7 million people and responsibility for a major section of the coast. Yet again an excellent presentation and many questions. From there to the Dutch Parliament where we met with a Member of Parliament, this of course was of particular interest to our two MPs.

That concluded the day from which I arrived back in North Norfolk in the very early hours of Friday morning.

My overall impression is that the Dutch have a much more positive approach to living with the sea and coast protection than exists within the UK.

Perhaps this was best demonstrated in the reply to being asked “What will you do about a possible one metre rise in sea levels post 2050?” The response was both calm and assured “We will deal with it.” And one is left in no doubt they will, with consummate success, rather than the throw the towel in and retreat now approach which seems to pervade and typify the UK response to the same problem.

The Dutch pay full compensation to homeowners etc when sacrifices have to be made in the wider National interest. Indeed I was most surprised having asked the question “In which legal framework is your policy of paying full compensation rooted, is it Dutch Law or European Law?” We were told “In Holland it is unthinkable to not pay compensation so there is no need for a legal framework, it is automatic“.

Little wonder then that they are world leaders in coast protection with an investment of some 1.6 billion euros this year alone they are able to manage their coast in a socially just and extremely effective manner. Along with this their standard of defences is so much higher, for example: Relatively thinly populated rural areas have a one in 1250 year event standard. In this country not even London gets that level of protection at one in 1000 year event standard.

The major centres of population in Holland continue to enjoy protection to a one in 10,000 year event standard which they are giving very serious thoughts to increasing ten fold.

In offshore dredging, which they do allow, they have only one strictly enforced rule: NO dredging in any area with a depth of twenty metres or less.

Much more information was forthcoming on the day, however I can do no better than quote Norman Lamb MP “There is a compelling logic to applying the Dutch approach to the UK“.

Finally my thanks go to the APPG and Coastnet for making this excellent fact finding trip possible with special thanks to all our Dutch hosts and their teams for such a warm and courteous welcome. All presentations and discussions were conducted in English not Dutch, very humbling and much appreciated.

Malcolm Kerby (29 November 2008)

October 2008 Update – Chris Smith Visit

I note from recent press and media reports the various comments made by Lord Smith when visiting Suffolk. The problem is, just as the Minister did when he came to North Norfolk in July, he has said nothing that changes the situation one iota.

As far as I can see it was an exercise in saying we are not going to defend much of our coast in what the politicians would deem a much more user friendly way. In many ways it was the usual political spin particularly when referring to increased funding for flood and coast protection.

There was no mention of the fact that the Environment Agency (EA) which he now chairs spent £67million pounds of our money running its Head Office last year and the true facts about funding were seemingly avoided. FACT, the funding allocation for Flood and Coast Protection (F&CP) for the three year period commencing 6th April 2008 is £2.15billion of which only £110million (just 5%) is allocated to be shared between the 92 Maritime Authorities plus the Internal Drainage Boards for Coast Protection. That is a dramatic reduction of funding for the coast, not as they would have us believe an increase.

He did not mention that currently for every pound of OUR money given to the EA for F&CP app. 65p goes on admin and only 35p goes into actual works. That is a National disgrace.

What we all need is to hear the politicians who hold responsibility will stem the systemic waste in the various Departments and Agencies involved in F&CP, will significantly increase funding for the coast and achieve something approaching value for money for the taxpayer. That which is sorely lacking at the moment.

He also failed to mention his Government has just given £75million to another country to help them with their “adaptation to climate change” whilst we, whose money it is anyway, only get £30million spread over three years for “adaptation to climate change” !!

He did mention though that he found the prospect of people and communities funding or part funding their own protection from the sea “exciting”. I bet he did. Is that not utopia for any Government. Getting people to pay twice for their rights, once through the tax system and again themselves.

I say again if we continue with present coastal governance, policy and underfunding we are very much set on a path which will most definitely lead to coastal chaos in the not too distant future. As can be seen it is beginning now.

We must all stand together and absolutely demand better value for our money. We can live without the dreaded SPIN, let us deal with the facts !!

Let us say to all who hold responsibility for the management of our coast stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes and get on with managing our coast for sound, best practice coast management rationale and stop managing for fiscal reasons alone.

Malcolm Kerby (31 October 2008)

October 2008 Comments

As can be seen from the recent newspaper report in the Eastern Daily Press the Government (in the form of their quangos Environment Agency and Natural England) have changed their stance on DIY coast protection / defences.

This change has come about, I suspect, as a direct result of the case brought by one Easton Bavents (Suffolk) resident who was ordered by Natural England (NE) to cease defending the cliff in front of his home.

The resulting investigation found NE to be in breach of that homeowner’s Human Rights under The Human Rights Act 1998 as they did not offer the homeowner compensation along side the order to cease defending. Presumably had they offered or paid him compensation they could then, and only then, enforce the order.

That case showed the Government a different way forward, they concluded they could wriggle out of their coast protection/defence responsibilities without falling foul of the Human Rights Act or paying compensation simply by telling people that whilst Government would no longer pay for coast defences people could do it themselves at their own expense if they wished. The possibility of anyone being able to do that is of course quite remote. So once again Government gets it’s way at no cost to itself.

To me this latest approach by Government and it’s quangos is a shifty, callous, irresponsible piece of sharp practice which is at odds with Government’s bounden duty of care to ALL the people.

There is huge and mounting dissatisfaction amongst the public (taxpayers) with current and proposed governance of the coast.

As can be seen with the Blyth Estuary Strategy consultation is meaningless and the peoples wishes are ignored. WHY?

Have we forgotten that it is the people who pay for everything. It is the people who employ Government, it’s quangos, Ministers and Civil Servants, they all work for us. Not us for them! Why then do they continue to pursue coastal policies and outcomes which are so at odds with the needs and wishes of the people ?

Only one conclusion can be drawn, that we are not managing the coast either in the interests of the people or for sound, effective, good coast management rationale. It is being done for purely fiscal reasons. Quite simply Government has decided, for it’s own interests, it simply does not wish to spend our money on the coast. Funding has been reduced year on year and is now lower than it has been for a considerable time.

The governance and policies being rigorously pursued and applied on the coast is massively increasing risk to people and the built and natural environment. That is now undeniable.

As many will know I have attended quite a number of public gatherings and discussions about the management of our coast. The public finds the current approach from Government extremely difficult to understand, among the most frequently asked questions and statements are:

  1. How can they ( the Government) justify spending billions of pounds of our money on what many people believe was an illegal incursion into the Middle East and yet refuse to defend their own people from the sea? And more recently:
  2. How can they ( the Government) justify giving £75 million to a foreign country to help fund their adaptation to climate change, yet only allocate £30 million toward our own adaptation to climate change?
  3. How can they (the Government) justify spending Billions and Billions of pounds of our money bailing out Banks whose demise has been brought about by their own inept business decisions, greed and excess, compounded by paying themselves bonuses with money they never really had. Yet continue to abandon coastal communities through lack of funding?
  4. What good is a Human Rights Act which seemingly fails to protect many peoples rights to live without being discriminated against or enjoy the most basic Human Right of living in peace with the ability to enjoy, without interference, their possesions, home and family life?

These four FAQs are not necessarily the views of either myself or CCAG. However they are voiced (amongst others) by an increasing number of people.

There is no doubt that our coast has been evolving over millenia and will continue to do so, coastal change is not a new phenomena. There seems little doubt now that the combined effects of Global Warming, Sea Level Rise, Climate Change and Isostatic Rebound may have a profound effect on the coast as we move through this century. What will matter at least as much as those factors themselves is how we manage our way through.

If we continue as we are with current institutional structures and massive underfunding I fear there can only be one outcome for the coast and it’s people. Chaos on an unprecedented scale with many coastal inhabitants and communities completely disenfranchised, maybe not by the combined efects of climate change etc., but by their own Government.

We who live on the coast understand very well we are an island nation and coast protection is expensive. We also understand the expense and cost of not protecting, whereas our Government refuses to countenance the cost of it’s no active intervention or managed realignment policies.

Malcolm Kerby (21 October 2008)

September 2008 Comments

It has been a considerable time since I last made comment since then little has changed on the Policy front although I am aware that much is going on behind the scenes

I have done much work on ensuring the key players are very much aware of the grief and hardship their abortive management of our coast is causing to an ever increasing number of people.

Now I have no doubt DEFRA, the Environment Agency (EA), Natural England (NE) and even the Treasury are fully aware of the effects of that abortive management policy on individuals and communities all around our coast.

Anyone who wants to learn where and when this policy fiasco started should read an article published in the New Scientist magazine , issue 1854 on 2nd January 1993

More recently there is a very clear indication of the low priority afforded to people, their homes and businesses in stark contrast to the very high priority afforded to flora and fauna. One need look no further than the minutes of the EA Board Meeting which took place on the 10th July 08 at North Lakes Hotel Penrith ( I bet that cost us a few bob ).

On page 7 is paragraph 27 I quote :

“The Board questioned the relatively low standard of protection along much of the Happisburgh to Winterton frontage ( 1:20 ). It was explained that this standard of protection is appropriate for natural habitats, which NE has indicated would recover with that frequency of inundation”. Please note, no mention of people and their homes or communities and whether they could cope with being inundated by the sea every 20 years or so. Need I say more ?

What they consistantly choose to ignore is the inescapable fact that there has been absolutely no Government money spent on protection at Happisburgh for app 48 years!! WHY?

NE of course is Government’s latest Quango and I have read some of the utterances of their Chief Executive and quite honestly her views frighten me witless. Can anyone tell me what role NE is supposed to fill other than their achievment thus far which seems to be making the lives of mankind on the coast much worse and thoroughly miserable?

Oh well I suppose we should blame the blithering idiots who created NE and gave them their remit which, as all involved will tell you and use as a kind of get out clause, does not include Homo Sapiens or his habitat. That, in my view, was an error of enormous proportions which I suspect will haunt coastal dwellers for many a year yet. Is man not as much a part of the natural environment as any other species?

Various Government Ministers their Aides and Quangos have repeated ad nauseum the two phrases which are guaranteed to set my hackles going. They are “we must achieve maximum value for the taxpayer” (as if they would have any idea of what that means ) and when deciding to abandon defences and communities “we cannot justify the expenditure to the wider taxpayer”. With those comments in mind I have spent months looking at some of the figures behind the facade of the EA. Early indications are that only a relatively small amount of our money given to them for Flood and Coast Protection is actually spent on allieviation works the bulk of it appears to be going on running the EA itself. Indeed it appears that money wasting by the various Departments, Agencies and Quangos is both systemic and significant.

I leave you to ponder the fact that my figures show that the EA head office alone cost you and me (the wider taxpayer) £67million last year. If and when I get other figures confirmed I shall bring them to you.

Malcolm Kerby (25 September 2008)

April 2008 – The Real Inconvenient Truth About Climate Change

It is extremely regrettable and highly possible that global warming, sea level rise and climate change will have little work to do in terms of wrecking our coast as we know it and the lives of all who live and work in the coastal zone as we progress through this century.

Our Government will already have done that long before we/they know or understand what the real extent the effects of climate change may be.

By assuming the worst and throwing away communities and land around our coast now we are not managing the problem we are abdicating our responsibilities to future generations and binding them into costs they may never have been forced to bear had we been more pragmatic in our approach today.

Already we have seen current Governance and policy effectively shut down many coastal communities and indeed many more inland of the littoral line (as in the Natural England proposals for the northern Norfolk Broads) causing unnecessary havoc and very severe adverse financial implications for those who live and work there.

Over the last 25-30 years Governments of both political persuasion have consistently and massively underfunded coast management resulting in the now critical and dangerous state of this Nation’s coast protection and sea defences. This is not just my view, it is referred to in the Foresight Study of 2004.

By neglecting to adequately fund the maintenance and improvement of the Nation’s protection from the sea over such an extended period we now face significant costs just to bring those defences up to today’s standards and even more to take account of any effects of climate change we may be facing, again this point was made in the Foresight Study.

Armed with this information the Government decided not to continue defending many areas thus saving a great deal of expense. This option is hugely attractive to Government because of the immensely biased way our coastal governance operates.

Under current rules if Government decides to withdraw from defending any part of the coast it does so at absolutely zero cost to itself. All costs are borne locally, no matter how significant those costs may be. At the moment Central Government steadfastly refuses to allow the real cost of not defending to be set against the cost of defending simply because to do this would prove beyond all doubt that defending is by far the cheaper (and perhaps more sustainable) option. So it all boils down to a very simple decision, to defend would cost Government money, to not defend costs them nothing.

Of the 2.15 billion pounds allocated for Flood and Coast Defence over the three year spending period which has just started this month only 110 million pounds (App.5% of the total) is allocated for coast protection to be shared amongst over 92 Maritime Local Authorities. Says it all really doesn’t it !!

Malcolm Kerby (26 April 2008)

April 2008 Comments – The national approach

Since this internet facility was launched in 2002 we have watched it grow and mature into both a national and international point of reference. Alongside this the problems experienced by Happisburgh are now being experienced at more and more locations around this country.

The list of communities falling victim to our Government’s mismanagement of our coast is growing.

It has become increasingly difficult to provide an adequate resource to other communities. In recent times I have been contacted by communities from as far afield as Cleveland and Yorkshire in the north to communities all along the south coast from Kent to Hampshire.

With this in mind we have launched a new website www.nvcc.org.uk to provide a National Voice for Coastal Communities with the sole aim of providing a facility where all affected areas and peoples can share their experiences and coast management problems to hopefully pull together and increase pressure on Government to adopt a more sensible and Socially Just form of coastal governance.

To illustrate why we have created this new facility, the CCAG site currently receives an average of 30,000 visits a month with 140,000 page impressions from over 60 countries.

This is a truly phenominal success rate and we hope the launch of the new facility will build on that.

Malcolm Kerby (19 April 2008)

March 2008 Comments

Comments on the press article Erosion victory is good news :

This report brings us news of what could be a landmark decision for many coastal inhabitants and communities.

Personally I feel it absolutely vindicates and underlines the comments and judgement made in my letter to the then Minister, Elliot Morley MP, of 7th August 2005.

Without doubt this fires a considerable shot across the bows of Government’s policy and thinking on how stakeholders should be treated when a decision is made to discontinue or withdraw from protecting the coast.

Central Government continually refuses to bring the management of the coast up to 21st century standards. They absolutely cling to that probably most outdated of all statutory instruments, The Coast Protection Act 1949, simply because that act gives them the right to walk away from protecting much of the coast and it’s communities at absolutely no cost to Government itself. That fact alone makes the path being trod by the whole Making Space For Water (what an unfortunate name) project and the Second Generation Shoreline Management Plans completely unsustainable.

I have been, and remain, astonished that any Government department can actively persue a policy which utterly disenfranchises so many people and renders so many of them penniless. Even using it’s own quangos to attempt to prevent individuals from protecting their own homes and property.

This judgement reinforces my unshakable belief that if Government policy dictates that we have to stop defending previously defended parts of the coast in the wider National interest then that cost must be borne by the wider Nation in whose name it is being perpetrated, not by individuals alone.

It is extremely gratifying to see the Human Rights Act 1998 actually working for good honest citizens as much as it seems to have been used over recent years for those who many of us feel should have relinquished it’s protection by their own unlawful and sometimes horrific actions.

Malcolm Kerby (13 March 2008)

January 2008 Update

My comments this time concern the statement released by DEFRA on the 13th December 07:

Government blueprint to deliver better protection for people on the coast

“A blueprint to help deliver improved protection for people and property nationally, from coastal flooding and erosion has today been set out by Phil Woolas, Minister for Climate Change and Flooding” (Full statement)

In the statement the Minister speaks of the need to protect ourselves from the ” impacts of our changing climate “, I would wholeheartedly concur with that.

The problems arise from the manner in which that need is funded and managed in reality on the ground. The measures outlined in the statement will actually render both the built and natural environment more vulnerable to the effects of Climate Change and substantially increased risk.

At some point there will have to be a change in political thinking and priorities. Firstly there is a desperate need for a substantial increase in funding, without such an increase it simply will not be possible to achieve even minimum levels of protection around this country’s coast .

It is the coastal zone which is now and will continue to be in the front line of the effects of Climate Change yet year on year Central Government have reduced funding.

We have some 19000kms of coast with app. 16.9 million people living and working in that zone. Why then does Government continually allocate annual funding of less than 50 million pounds to be shared between the 92 Maritime Authorities (MAs) charged with the responsibility of protecting their coasts and the Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs)?

There can be no better example on record than the official figures ( supplied by a previous Minister) for the financial year 2005 to 2006 when from a total allocation of 570million pounds only 47million was allocated for coast protection schemes from the MAs and other works by the IDBs.

At about the same time a scheme to protect app 3kms of coast at Scarborough was completed at a cost of more than 53million pounds. That is app 6 million pounds more than the entire national allocation!! so it is certainly incorrect to say there has been “record levels of investment” in “coastal erosion work”. In fact nothing could be further from the truth.

The Minister also speaks of “a responsibility to taxpayers who need to know that this funding is being used to best effect”. Absolutely right Minister, so can we expect you to stem the systemic waste of taxpayers money in the current and historic management (if it can be called that) of our coast? Currently my contacts within the system tell me that only about half the annual budget allocation for Flood and Coast Protection goes in to work on the ground (actual protection measures) and half is lost in constant reviews, internal audits and structure changes, abortive strategies and studies etc. for schemes which often never come to fruition. Should anyone need confirmation of this take a look at the almighty cock up the Environment Agency (EA) ably assisted by Natural England (NE) have made at Jury’s Gap in East Sussex.

So what is really required is not tinkering around the edges of a very cumbersome system that plainly is not fit for purpose but an absolute root and branch rethink to achieve better control, management and application of significantly increased funding of the coast.

In short the current level of funding and lack of effective management are neither cost effective or sustainable and most certainly not in the wider taxpayers interests.

DEFRAs intention of “closer working with the Regional Flood Defence Committees” (RFDCs) could be beneficial although the way Government achieves this could be extremely detrimental.

If, as I believe they will, they force the MAs to submit all applications for capital scheme funding or grant in aid to the RFDCs for thier approval or otherwise ( the RFDCs will then decide whether any application can be put forward for funding) it will probably be a disasterous move.

Climate Change is upon us now, that is self evident, and most experts believe it’s effects will become more intense as we proceed through the coming century. We have no control over the weather which Global Warming and Climate Change will bring, our only option is to effectivelymanage our way through it. That will cost money, probably a significant amount of it, but what alternative is there!!

We already have a system which is bogged down, as intended, by too many fingers in the pie which actually spends millions of pounds avoiding doing anything constructive. The latest blueprint will undoubtedly perpetuate this and afford yet more opportunity for more of the same.

We inherited this beautiful country and I am absolutely commited to doing all I can to ensure we pass it on to future generations in at least as good a condition as we were fortunate enough to inherit it.

I truly believe our current approach to managing our coast is unsustainable, extremely poor value which will pass on a huge and wholly unacceptable cost to future generations. A cost which will not be measured in financial terms alone.

There are alternatives some I have previously outlined please see Alternative Governance for Living With a Changing Coastline and my paper Adaptive Management and Local Specificity Within ICZMpresented at a conference in Edinburgh 2005 the problem is time is of the essence. If we continue underfunding and managing by default we will make the effects of any Climate Change much, much worse.

Malcolm Kerby (13 January 2008)

November 2007 Comments – Near miss

Much has happened in recent weeks, not least the weather which conspired to create a huge tidal surge in the North Sea over the 8th and 9th of November. A surge tide which took us perilously close to another 1953 disaster along the eastern flank of this country. Mercifully the weather itself ‘let us off the hook’. What defences remain took a fearful battering and some damage but they held. There were however some localised problems particularly at Walcot where the much extolled Environment Agency (by them of course) warning system failed miserably resulting in extreme threat to life and limb for many residents.

A widespread disaster was avoided solely because the wind direction did not shift more northerly. Had it done so the outcome would have been very different indeed.

Unfortunately Central Government will now consider there are few lessons to be learned from this near miss simply because it was precisely that, a near miss. In other words not enough happened to force the ‘gnomes of Whitehall’ to advise Ministers that the current and proposed policies and low levels of funding for managing the coast significantly increases the risk to the built and natural environment as well as public safety.

The second generation Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) may well be “Plans” of what Government wants to do with the coast but in no respect are they “Management Plans” for they actually ‘manage’ nothing, not even the consequenses of their own proposals. They ignore completely the enormous Social Justice problems they create and the possible (or more likely probable) adverse effects of Marine Aggregate Dredging on the coastal process.

Make no mistake these SMPs were intended to be a means to ‘legitimise’ the massive underfunding of coast management. It was assumed (wrongly) that no longer defending much of our coastline would be a zero cost option for Central Government. Only now are they beginning to realise there is a huge cost and significant price to pay for “no active intervention” in many areas.

Contained within the Treasury’s recent Comprehensive Spending Revue is a commitment to make available ten million pounds each year for the next three years to “help communities adapt to climate change where defences are no longer considered viable”. Quite what this will mean and how it will be applied few if any people know or understand as yet. It is hoped that North Norfolk can be used to pilot any mitigation measures for if it can be got right here then it will work anywhere.

There is a real danger that some will wish to get their hands on a slice of that annual ten million to fund yet more strategies and studies etc. I have no doubt that various individuals, academics and institutions,cosultants et al are already working toward obtaining funding from the Adaptive Toolkit package. This I believe must be avoided at all costs, over the next three years that money must be used to help real people, real communities to adapt for that is the only way the SMPs will ever become acceptable to the people.

Thanks yet again to the tremendous efforts of our local MP Norman Lamb we had a meeting with the new Minister, Phil Woolas MP on the 21st of November. Clearly the Minister is a very busy man and we are most grateful he afforded us the time. The meeting was very cordial and we were able to discuss the substantive issues with both the Minister and senior staff. Only time will tell if it was as constructive as we felt it was on the day.

I was disappointed that the new Head of Flood Management, Chris de Grouchy, was not present.

Therein lies one of the major problems at the heart of the British way of doing things, every three or four years it seems there is a great shuffle round of top personnel. New people are brought in usually with no experience or understanding of coastal process or coast management. The nett effect of this is to promulgate talk, talk and more talk. Then just as those individuals begin to get a grasp of the situation they are moved on and new blood is brought in and we start all over again! This is great for perpetuating talking but it does seem to inhibit decision making (action on the ground)

Over the past four years I have met with three different Ministers holding responsibility for coastal strategy. the first was Elliot Morley, to put it mildly he was about as much use as a chocolate teapot. The second was Ian Pearson, a very bright individual for whom I have the greatest respect. He recognised and identified many of the problems very rapidly and was quietly very effective.

The third of course is Phil Woolas whom I thank very much for meeting with us and who I think could make a significant and positive contribution coming as he does from a DCLG background. Unless of course the British way of doing things impedes him as well !!

Malcolm Kerby (26 November 2007)

August 2007 Comments

Comments on the press article funds bid on way –

  1. There is no “new Shoreline Management Plan” (SMP2) other than the Kelling to Lowestoft Ness SMP2 published late 2004 and launched early 2005.
  2. Acceptance of that SMP2 by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and/or Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) is in no way linked to obtaining Central Government (DEFRA/EA) funds for coast defence. The truth is NNDC/GYBC et al have been told by DEFRA if SMP2 is not accepted by them they will be classified as ‘outside the system’ and will not be allowed to even bid for funds. To understand this is to understand that there will not be any right to funds whatever happens. It merely means that the coastal authorities, if they accept SMP2, will retain the right to bid for funding but in no way guarantees the provision of any funding.
  3. The meeting on the 22nd Aug at GYBC was a Cabinet meeting to decide what recommendations are made to full Council re SMP2. Those recommendations will be discussed and the decision whether or not to accept SMP2 are due to take place at the full Council meeting scheduled for late October/early November.

I sincerely hope this clears up any misunderstandings and prevents any false hope being raised. If you have any thoughts on the matter or would like further explanation or discussion please use the forum on this site to add your thoughts or pose your questions.

Malcolm Kerby (25 August 2007)