Norfolk and Suffolk flood defences dating back to the Eden and Macmillan governments are in need of urgent repair, upgrade and replacement as flooding along the East coast looks set to get worse in the coming years, a Suffolk MP has warned.

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In a House of Commons debate Waveney MP Peter Aldous called for a change in approach to flood risk management saying he feared the East coast would not be “third time lucky”.

He called for one department to take overall control, criticising a “more fragmented approach” since 1994 when the National Rivers Authority was scrapped, adding: “Locally, I believe that a whole river approach to flood management should be adopted ‘from source to the sea’ and we should on the basis that each catchment and each river is different and it is local people that know best.”

North-West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham also raised concerns about the future management of sea defences in Norfolk, telling MPs that “managed retreat” anywhere along the Norfolk Coast would not be acceptable. His comments come after the boss of the Environment Agency said earlier this year that the agency was weighing up plans not to repair defences in Brancaster, Blakeney and Salthouse, with consultants looking at the options following the tidal surge in early December. Chair of the Commons environment select committee Ann McIntosh, who called the debate, said she had never been a bit fan of the policy. She also told the Commons that the Environment Agency (EA) had not properly maintained buildings and river embankments at risk of flooding due to the direction of the last Labour government which wanted to protect nesting birds. The Tory MP said the EA had in the past not carried out enough inspections and minor repairs on buildings, had not properly managed vegetation and had not correctly controlled populations of burrowing animals near river embankments. Mr Aldous said: “The picture of the impact of the flood particularly on infrastructure and sea defences is still not complete and it is a race against time to get open the beaches the tourism season.”

He added: “Many of the sea defences on the Norfolk and Suffolk coast were put in place by the Eden and Macmillan Governments after the 1953 floods. They are now in need of urgent repair, upgrading a replacement.”

“In 2007, the wind dropped in the nick of time, whilst in 2013, the wind was blowing in a Northerly direction and there was no heavy rainfall. Mr Speaker, I fear that it will not be a third time lucky and it is important with this in mind that new defences are put in place as soon as practically possible,” he went on. Should the government re-think its approach to sea defences? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

7 comments

  • look at the sentence . The last labour government were more concerned with nesting birds than the people of norfolk

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    milecross

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • this is shameful , Look back at the billions wasted by the previous labour and tory goverments and we now have flood defences which are a joke and laughable in the 21st century . A top ten country in the world with third world sea defences.,,,And what are local MPS doing to get funding for new sea defences . Absolutly nothing

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    milecross

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • The whole issue of total flood risk and protection needs to be reviewed as a matter of extreme urgency. The government's adopted policy of managed retreat is totally flawed and places people, property and businesses at very high risk. There have been a number of reports produced in recent times by the government and ABI which can be accessed via the internet which highlight the serious risks we face from flooding in the east of England. It appears from these reports that there are only two locations in East Anglia which are considered high priority in terms of protection from the sea, the Bacton Gas terminal and Sizewell. Also a great number of the rainwater drainage systems and mains sewers which we depend on were built in Victoria times. These were never intended to cope with the flows and conditions presently experienced, and we have seen a number of failures and collapses in Lowestoft in recent times. We need a radical review and change of approach now.

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    Grey Fox

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • The debate on the 19th of Dec. 2013 was attended by less than 10 MP's, that was fater the storms hit the east of England, luckily short lived. Only now that thousands of loyal Conservative supporters saw their Henley and Oxford shire homes floodedhas this coalition woken up. But to what you may ask. Victorian sea defences and decades of underinvestment needs urgent solutions. One single tidal energy system accross the Wash, with a lock system, could make two nuclear PWR stations obsolete, thats 3 billion saving 18 billion, for three times the lifespoan of a PWR station and without the dangerous legacies involved. We have to wake up to an annual rising budget to save our realm at home. Buying time is essential; to finding a long term solution to rising sea levels. Housing can be build on stilts, or made to swim by having cellars that double up as pontoons, talking about action will do nothing. Such work tazkes an annual rising budget for decades and insurance companies feeding on the returns from higher premiums have to pull their weight, actively!

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • I lived in Sheringham when the floods of 1953b took place, it seems from the pictures I have seen took place again. They did extend the defences out to the east end towards Beeston Bump but I would inagine they would have to extend to West Runton and beyond to be of any effect. Also Salthouse and Blakeney would need something more that sandshingle banks. Unfortunately however you cannot raise the towns inland from these areas, which means either you abandon the coastal villages and town or you have to build defences for the future, not just the next high tide!!

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    canuk

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • The money can be magically found to compensate those in Tory Lib Dem areas when they've been flooded. We just can't seem to find it when we need to protect them in the first place.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • When this subject is discussed the public seems to be confused between flood protection based on good drainage systems and banks etc and sea defences. Some of the older sea defences and particularly those which have had more recent work on them did well, in other places there is a question of whether we want a beach or a concrete wall with the water lapping at it at all states of the tide. But the inadequacies of the Environment agency under Labour, their too close relationship with politically motivated dogma laden charities and the bureacracy heavy, academic driven set up has been driving Internal drainage boards and those who pay drainage rates to distraction.Take the case of one farmer who discovered badger setts in the bank of a fenland waterway where the water is above the land and a breach would cause flooding. The EA response was that the badgers must not be harmed. Pleas for dredging of artificial drainage channels created on the basis that they would need dredging fell on prejudiced ears of those who want to treat fenland drainage as the same as a natural river system.Pleas for weed removal-can't do it because it is dangerous work for EA employees-yet private IDBs have sophiisticated weed cutting devices . and the EA takes drainage rates fails to do the job and then spends money buying up farmland to "re wild" for birds because the places they usually nest are underwater for longer than even 80 year old people can remember. TheEA is part and parcel of Labours bash the countryside It is they and labour who are to blame for the mess we have had this winter-civil engineering projects cant be commissioned over night .

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, March 3, 2014

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