June 2005 Comments

The much reviled and despised Kelling to Lowestoft draft Shoreline Management Plan ( SMP ) consultation period ended on the 29th April having received over 2500 responses. This was indeed a staggering result which , I feel sure, is without precedent. Well done to everyone who became engaged. That response was effectively a referendum on the change in central government policy on coast defence, DEFRA Ministers and Senior Civil Servants please take note your intention to move to mass abandonment of coast defence under the euphemism Natural Process is absolutely unacceptable. That is the message contained in the SMP response.

Natural process may well be the way forward IF we could start with a blank sheet of paper the fact is we can not, nor indeed can we return to the blank sheet of paper scenario. We will now never know how our coastline would have evolved had man not intervened to protect his environment.

If we are serious about striving for a sustainable coastal policy, then we must make it precisely that, sustainable. Not just sustainable in government terms ( which really means spending as little as possible ) but sustainable in a principled manner for all of the people and their cultural heritage. this I believe is one of the cornerstones of the coming Integrated Coastal Zone Management ( ICZM ) as outlined by the EU policy makers in Brussels.

Recently we have had the Government Making Space for Water consultation exercise and the Tyndall Centre project Living with a changing coastline both of which seem to have failed to address some of the basic issues involved in the littoral process and the application of social justice.

How can we ever have natural process whilst some hard defences remain in place ? Happisburgh is a prime example of this, where some defences have been allowed to deteriorate and have been removed we have witnessed very rapid UNnatural process with hugely accelerated rates of erosion. The lesson here is plain for all to see : you cannot choose not to defend an area in isolation, just as you cannot choose to defend an area in isolation.

Surely if natural process is aspired to all defences must be removed including , in this area, those protecting Sheringham, Cromer, Bacton Gas Terminal, Sea Palling and Great Yarmouth. If this is not done then we can never achieve natural process. To remove those defences is, of course, wholly undesirable and impractical in our modern society therefore natural process of coastal re-alighnment itself becomes an impractical aspiration and impossible to achieve.

Another major prerequisite to embarking on the path of natural process is to leave all sediment, both mobile and dormant, in situ. Which would mean a complete and immediate cessation of ALL marine aggregate dredging. Without it natural process can never be achieved.

There can be no half measures here if we do not remove all hard defences and stop dredging completely then we would be placing unnatural pressure on and discriminating against some areas, or communities in favour of others. That in a modern society is completely unacceptable. Possibly even unlawful, Article 14 European Convention on Human Rights specifically refers to discrimination against property.

We already know that the DEFRA criteria and point score system is designed to transfer funds away from the coast inland to fluvial flood areas. Vis a vis the 05-06 spending on Flood and Coast Protection is £570 million pounds with only £47 million going to Maritime Authorities, of which I believe there are over 70, and some of this has to be shared with the Internal Drainage Boards. Are we going to revert to natural process in fluvial areas? Are we going to remove all property built on the natural floodplains of this country over the last 30 years? Our government positively encouraged building on the fluvial floodplains resulting in the flooding chaos we have today.

It was of course natural process we witnessed on 31st January 1953 around the North Sea resulting in the loss of over 2000 lives and the events of 26th December 04 around the Indian Ocean both of which wrought unbearable human tragedy, suffering and devestation. Had effective defences and warning systems been in place perhaps the outcome of those natural events would have been less costly in human terms.

We are being warned ever more stridently of an impending storm of epic proportions for all of us. The combination of Global Warming, Global Dimming, Tectonic Plate Movement and Climate Change bringing significantly increased risk of severe and freak weather conditions.

Is this an appropriate time in our evolution to be calling for a return to natural process ?
Is this an appropriate time to be seriously considering wholesale abandonment of our coast defences ?
Are we witnessing a typically British ( Westminster and Whitehall ) cock up in pursuit of short term financial perceived gain for which this nation, it’s millions of coastal dwellers and their descendants could pay a very heavy price indeed ?

It will be too late when much of England is gone due to ill founded policy for it will be gone forever!

I repeat, the response to the SMP consultation was in effect a referendum on the direction of changed government policy.

Malcolm Kerby (17 June 2005)

April 2005 Comments

HANSON AGGREGATES MARINE LTD ADMITS DREDGING HAS AN IMPACT.

In an interview on BBC Radio Norfolk’s Today in Norfolk programme which took place on Tuesday 19th April whilst discussing marine aggregate dredging, coastal issues and coastal spokesman for Hanson Aggregates Marine Ltd David Weeks admitted “We are not saying there is no impact and no effect, but what we are saying is we can control it and we can manage it”

Amazingly this was on the very day that the company staged an information day at Yarmouth Racecourse in support of their application for a licence extension to continue dredging for a further 15 years off Great Yarmouth.

Yet again I quote from the Eurosion study which, when advising on the management of coastal cells and erosion, states the following measures and management imperitive under the sub heading LESSON 6:

 THE COASTAL SEDIMENT CELL.

 1. maintain the total amount of sediment (in motion or dormant) 
    within the coastal system.

 2. when taking measures, try to work with natural processes 
    or leave natural processes as undisturbed as possible.

 3. If no other options available, use hard constructions to 
    keep sediments in its position.

Elsewhere in the same report under the simple heading DREDGING is the following:

  Dredging activities have intensified in the past 20 years for navigational purposes 
  (the need to keep the shipping routes at an appropriate water depth), construction 
  purposes (an increasing amount of construction aggregates comes from the seabed), and 
  since the 1990's for beach and underwater nourishment. Dredging may affect coastal 
  processes by a variety of way:

  (i)   by removing from the foreshore materials (stones, pebbles), which protect the 
        coast  against erosion. For instance, stone fishing in Hyllingebjerg-Liseleje 
        (Denmark) triggered structural erosion. By way of illustration, it is estimated 
        that 50% of the total volume of the protective pebbles (3 million cubic meters) 
        has been extracted from the chalk cliff of Normandy (France) since the early 1900's.

  (ii)  by contributing to the sediment deficit in the coastal sediment cell, such as 
        in the Humber estuary, the coast of Sussex (United Kingdom) for construction 
        purposes (extaction of sand, gravel and shingle), the Western Scheldt (Netherlands) 
        for navigational purposes, Cova do Vapor (Portugal) where sand has been dredged off
        the coast to supply materials for the beaches of Costa del Sol, or Marinell di 
        Sarzana and Marina di Ravenna - Lido Adriano (Italy) where dredging from riverbeds 
        took place.

  (iii) by modifying the water depth, which in turn results in wave refraction and change 
        of alongshore drift, as illustated by the Wadden Sea (Netherlands).

Has Elliot Morley and the ODPM been extremely economical with the truth? Are they prepared to say anything to protect what they see as a strategic industry? In the light of Hanson’s admission will they continue to spin their yarns?

Finally I would say to everyone sit back and wait for the lame excuses, the justifications as to why the admission was a “mistake”. To the politicians and civil servants (who run the whole coastal thing because, as demonstrated by Elliot Morley on numerous occasions not least on 8th of March, the vast majority of Ministers and MP’s are absolutely clueless about it) I would say there is now absolutely no doubt about the effects of dredging on the littoral process so get your fingers out and do something about it.

Malcolm Kerby (22 April 2005)

April 2005 Comments

HANSON AGGREGATES MARINE LTD ADMITS DREDGING HAS AN IMPACT.

In an interview on BBC Radio Norfolk’s Today in Norfolk programme which took place on Tuesday 19th April whilst discussing marine aggregate dredging, coastal issues and coastal spokesman for Hanson Aggregates Marine Ltd David Weeks admitted “We are not saying there is no impact and no effect, but what we are saying is we can control it and we can manage it”

Amazingly this was on the very day that the company staged an information day at Yarmouth Racecourse in support of their application for a licence extension to continue dredging for a further 15 years off Great Yarmouth.

Yet again I quote from the Eurosion study which, when advising on the management of coastal cells and erosion, states the following measures and management imperitive under the sub heading LESSON 6:

 THE COASTAL SEDIMENT CELL.

 1. maintain the total amount of sediment (in motion or dormant) 
    within the coastal system.

 2. when taking measures, try to work with natural processes 
    or leave natural processes as undisturbed as possible.

 3. If no other options available, use hard constructions to 
    keep sediments in its position.

Elsewhere in the same report under the simple heading DREDGING is the following:

  Dredging activities have intensified in the past 20 years for navigational purposes 
  (the need to keep the shipping routes at an appropriate water depth), construction 
  purposes (an increasing amount of construction aggregates comes from the seabed), and 
  since the 1990's for beach and underwater nourishment. Dredging may affect coastal 
  processes by a variety of way:

  (i)   by removing from the foreshore materials (stones, pebbles), which protect the 
        coast  against erosion. For instance, stone fishing in Hyllingebjerg-Liseleje 
        (Denmark) triggered structural erosion. By way of illustration, it is estimated 
        that 50% of the total volume of the protective pebbles (3 million cubic meters) 
        has been extracted from the chalk cliff of Normandy (France) since the early 1900's.

  (ii)  by contributing to the sediment deficit in the coastal sediment cell, such as 
        in the Humber estuary, the coast of Sussex (United Kingdom) for construction 
        purposes (extaction of sand, gravel and shingle), the Western Scheldt (Netherlands) 
        for navigational purposes, Cova do Vapor (Portugal) where sand has been dredged off
        the coast to supply materials for the beaches of Costa del Sol, or Marinell di 
        Sarzana and Marina di Ravenna - Lido Adriano (Italy) where dredging from riverbeds 
        took place.

  (iii) by modifying the water depth, which in turn results in wave refraction and change 
        of alongshore drift, as illustated by the Wadden Sea (Netherlands).

Has Elliot Morley and the ODPM been extremely economical with the truth? Are they prepared to say anything to protect what they see as a strategic industry? In the light of Hanson’s admission will they continue to spin their yarns?

Finally I would say to everyone sit back and wait for the lame excuses, the justifications as to why the admission was a “mistake”. To the politicians and civil servants (who run the whole coastal thing because, as demonstrated by Elliot Morley on numerous occasions not least on 8th of March, the vast majority of Ministers and MP’s are absolutely clueless about it) I would say there is now absolutely no doubt about the effects of dredging on the littoral process so get your fingers out and do something about it.

Malcolm Kerby (22 April 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)

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 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)

January 2005 Comments

As this is my first comment of 2005 I would like to begin by thanking everyone who has been kind enough to give Happisburgh the fantastic support we have enjoyed throughout the last year and indeed before that. Your support via the ongoing petition and postings on the forum are so important to our cause, also the private messages I have received all of which really do reinforce our strengh of purpose. We have received messages from all over the UK and right around the world, from many European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, South America, Africa, Latvia, Russia etc.etc. It has been both humbling, extremely gratifying and good to know that so many people care so passionately about this small but beautiful part of England. I wish you all a healthy, happy and safe 2005.

We also would wish to thank the many friends we have made in theNational and International Press and Media in particular our thanks go to the Eastern Daily Press and it’s associate the North Norfolk News who along with BBC Radio Norfolk have done so much in putting us “on the map”.

As with many people around the world we, here in Happisburgh, have watched the horror of the Asian Tsunami Disaster unfold via our televisions and, as coastal dwellers, are only too well aware of the power of the sea.Our thoughts are very much with everyone affected by this tragic event. In common with millions of others our overwhelming desire to help has found expression in financial terms.

We are begining to see, through the petition and forum on this site, people thinking about “natural process” in relation to coastal issues.

It is part of the human condition I suppose that we all learn from experience and many will now be looking at the new draft Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) for this area and it’s overwhelming call for a return to natural process with great scepticism because their experience will tell them that natural process can go horribly wrong as in the great storm surge and devastation around the North Sea coasts in 1953 resulting in over 2000 lives lost and the current happening in Asia and it’s horrific consequences. Much of which, in terms of human life, it seems could have been avoided had there been warning systems in place in the Indian Ocean as there is in the Pacific.

The problem is sea defences and oceanic warning systems are expensive. Our experience tells us though that the cost of not having them can be almost beyond comprehension!

Malcolm Kerby (08 January 2005)

January 2005 Comments

As this is my first comment of 2005 I would like to begin by thanking everyone who has been kind enough to give Happisburgh the fantastic support we have enjoyed throughout the last year and indeed before that. Your support via the ongoing petition and postings on the forum are so important to our cause, also the private messages I have received all of which really do reinforce our strengh of purpose. We have received messages from all over the UK and right around the world, from many European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, South America, Africa, Latvia, Russia etc.etc. It has been both humbling, extremely gratifying and good to know that so many people care so passionately about this small but beautiful part of England. I wish you all a healthy, happy and safe 2005.

We also would wish to thank the many friends we have made in theNational and International Press and Media in particular our thanks go to the Eastern Daily Press and it’s associate the North Norfolk News who along with BBC Radio Norfolk have done so much in putting us “on the map”.

As with many people around the world we, here in Happisburgh, have watched the horror of the Asian Tsunami Disaster unfold via our televisions and, as coastal dwellers, are only too well aware of the power of the sea.Our thoughts are very much with everyone affected by this tragic event. In common with millions of others our overwhelming desire to help has found expression in financial terms.

We are begining to see, through the petition and forum on this site, people thinking about “natural process” in relation to coastal issues.

It is part of the human condition I suppose that we all learn from experience and many will now be looking at the new draft Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) for this area and it’s overwhelming call for a return to natural process with great scepticism because their experience will tell them that natural process can go horribly wrong as in the great storm surge and devastation around the North Sea coasts in 1953 resulting in over 2000 lives lost and the current happening in Asia and it’s horrific consequences. Much of which, in terms of human life, it seems could have been avoided had there been warning systems in place in the Indian Ocean as there is in the Pacific.

The problem is sea defences and oceanic warning systems are expensive. Our experience tells us though that the cost of not having them can be almost beyond comprehension!

Malcolm Kerby (08 January 2005)

Reaction to SMP

Kelling to Lowestoft Ness Shoreline Management Plan (SMP)

This second generation draft SMP purports to seek a return to a more “natural coastline”, re-establish “natural process” and provide “sustainability” (whatever that may mean) yet it advocates policies which appear to promulgate the opposite. The Eccles to Winterton, Beach Road ( Policy Unit 3b13 ) proposals are, I believe, the most incredulous within the Plan. This section covers an area which Nature would wish to be a saltmarsh, yet this SMP proposes to work entirely against nature and continue artificial defence into the long term (2105). That defence is overwhelmingly relying on Beach Nourishment, also referred to as Beach Recharge. This involves dredging vast quantities of sand from an area ( Crown Estates Area 296) just a few miles off Great Yarmouth and pumping it ashore between Eccles and Winterton. Last year the relevant DEFRA Minister said the Environment Agency intended to spend a further £60,000,000 (having already spent some £30,000,000 I believe) over the next ten years on beach recharge for this area. That would indicate the annual cost of defending Policy Unit3b13 is SIX MILLION POUNDS. Therefore over the one hundred year timescale of the SMP they intend to spend at least SIX HUNDRED MILLION POUNDS artificially protecting that stretch of coastline.

Elsewhere however ie. Cromer to Happisburgh where nature has provided it’s own defences (cliffs) the SMP calls for the sacrifice of those defences. It seems to me this plan advocates that we choose a path of wholesale destruction in direct conflict with natural process. Surely if we are serious about working with nature we should be thinking about assisting nature with it’s own (natural) defences i.e. cliffs and adequately managing a return to saltmarsh where nature itself would wish a saltmarsh to be.

Notwithstanding the immense financial implications already outlined there is a genuinely held belief by an increasing number of people that the very act of dredging does and will cause or increase coastal erosion elsewhere in the SMP area and beyond.

Try as I might I can find no common sense in this SMP. It fails to address the issues of Environmental Impact, Social Justice, Cultural Heritage and Natural Process and is patently unsustainable. Indeed, far from solving the problems it greatly increases them along with the huge financial burden it will undoubtedly impose upon future generations.

I regard the draft SMP as not so much a plan for MANAGING our coastline as a draft declaration of the next hundred years war, this time with nature !

Malcolm Kerby (09 December 2004)