Firms will have to pay towards cost of sea defences between Heacham and Wolferton in West Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 16:40 01 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:44 01 August 2014

Firms will soon have to pay towards the cost of maintaining the sea defences. Picture: Matthew Usher

Firms will soon have to pay towards the cost of maintaining the sea defences. Picture: Matthew Usher

Archant © 2010

Businesses will have to start paying towards the cost of flood defences in West Norfolk, to cover a £150,000 shortfall.

The warning comes in the Environment Agency’s draft Coastal Management Strategy, which has gone out for consultation.

The document recommends that the so-called soft defences, which lie between Heacham and Wolferton, will continue to be repaired each spring.

EA engineers “recharge” the shingle bank by collecting material which has been washed away south by the winter storms using giant earthmovers.

But the document adds government funding for the work runs out next year.

Brian Long, West Norfolk council’s cabinet member for the environment, said that would leave a shortfall of between £150,000 and £200,000.

Businesses - which are predominantly holiday parks in the area affected - will be asked to pay between £40 and £50 per caravan, while farmers will be asked to pay £1 per hectare for land holdings protected by the defences. Mr Long said firms had responded positively to the request at a meeting to discuss how the sea defences could be funded in the future.

“They agreed that they couldn’t let the defences go,” he said. “To keep their businesses vibrant and viable, they can’t afford to let the defences go.”

A community interest company is being set up by the borough council to administer the finances. A similar scheme is likely to be set up across The Wash, in Lincolnshire, where holiday businesses will also have to contribute towards the cost of the defences which protect them.

The EA strategy also recommends maintaining the promenade, groynes and sea wall at Hunstanton, because they are essential for the resort’s economic future.

It says the existing structures are expected to last until at least 2029 and their importance to tourism means there could be national funding made available when the time comes to replace them.

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  • A Wash barrier would destroy the very features that the tourist businesses are there to exploit- the beaches. They would become even more nothing but mud if the tidal flow was obstructed.Plus, the cost of maintaining the defences would only be transferred to the barrier which would be closer to waves unimpeded by sand banks and more susceptible to damage. Then there would be the matter of the sluicing and construction of channels for the four river of the Wash to maintain the small amount of scour which the effect of the tides create in the rivers or the whole drainage of the massive Fenland basin would be adversely affected. Surely not just a matter of exploiting wave energy. Plus, beach recharging is a " soft" solution to land protection which has been used with success for hundreds of years in places like the Brograve level. The protection in question is primarily of caravans and beach holiday homes and land- so the solution seems proper and not a matter for Hemsby style hysteria.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

  • well said gerg. An investment into a wash barrier and tidal energy scheme of two to three billion would cancel out two chinese nuclear power stations costing 18billion, possibly. Further it would make these sticky plaster efforts by DEFRA obsolete and buy us time for 150 years. Fleecing holiday camps who will move the charges to holiday makers, whilst only charging £1 for agricultural land, whether its got a hunt on it, or make millions in subsidies, is unfair and biased towards large landowners. How many caravans can one site on one hectare?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

  • Ha ha ha. The Environment agency hasnt got a clue, has it ?. The EA is run by otherwise unemployable rubbish. Time for a few sackings.

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    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  • We spend billions every year on defence - lets have some of that money to defend our coastlines! or maybe reduce the foreign aid program to help fund aid at home first ! Grrr........

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    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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