November 2003

One of the questions put to the officials with whom we met in Brussels was: “Does offshore aggregate dredging and extraction have any impact on coastal erosion?” The reply indicated that it most certainly does! Over the Last 5 years our Government has received in royalty income from dredging and extraction from off the North Norfolk coast a staggering £26.02 million pounds.

Over the last 5 years the total amount spent by our Government on coast protection throughout North Norfolk is £1,190,243 None of which was spent on Happisburgh.

In spite of the obvious and direct correlation between dredging and coastal erosion our Government has not commissioned any study into the impact of offshore dredging on coastal erosion. So our Government is granting and extending dredging licenses with absolutely no knowledge of the consequences.

This can only be described as hugely irresponsible and a complete betrayal of the people’s trust. That irresponsibility and betrayal might have been a little more palatable if they had spent the £26.02 million on our coast defences but they have not.

CCAG is not able to claim that dredging is responsible either in whole or in part for the massive coastal erosion problems throughout North Norfolk, in particular Happisburgh, equally the Government cannot claim that dredging is not responsible because neither CCAG or our Government have commissioned a proper effective study of the effects of dredging.

There should now be a moratorium placed on dredging until a proper, effective, comprehensive study has been made. This is the very least a responsible, moral Government should do, immediately!

Remember the figures over the last 5 years dredging off the Norfolk coast Government profit £26.02 million. Government spend on coast protection less than £1.2 million

Many centuries ago the Vikings arrived on our shores and thus the popular phrase, rape and pillage entered our vocabulary. The Vikings raped and pillaged our coastal settlements but, it seems, on nothing near the scale that our own Government is today.

Malcolm Kerby (10 November 2003)