A dedicated 'minister for the coast' is being demanded so more can be done to protect Norfolk communities from flooding and the effects of erosion.

As more people face the heartache of seeing their homes demolished at Hemsby, after coastal erosion left them on the verge of falling into the sea, county councillors are urging the government to take more responsibility.

Eastern Daily Press: Demolition work in HemsbyDemolition work in Hemsby (Image: PA)

At a meeting of Norfolk County Council on Tuesday (December 12), councillors are likely to agree to add their voices to calls for the government to appoint a coast minister.

Eastern Daily Press: Henry CatorHenry Cator (Image: Archant)

Henry Cator, chairman of the Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance, set up by Norfolk County Council in the wake of flooding in parts of Norfolk during Christmas 2020, had called for the creation of the government post at a meeting last month.

He said he wanted a minister to take responsibility for flooding and coastal communities.

Eastern Daily Press: James Bensly, Conservative county councillorJames Bensly, Conservative county councillor (Image: Newsquest)

And James Bensly, Conservative county councillor for East Flegg division, which includes Hemsby, has put forward a motion that the full council backs that call.

Mr Bensly said: "There is an evident need for a dedicated minister for the coast, one that could work across government and raise the profile of the needs of our unique coastal
communities and who has oversight and understanding of all the challenges and
opportunities that our coastal communities and businesses face."

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk County Council leader Kay Mason BilligNorfolk County Council leader Kay Mason Billig (Image: Norfolk County Council)

The motion calls for councillors to agree that County Hall leader Kay Mason Billig should write to all parties at a national level to ask that a minister for the coast proposal be included in all their manifestos for the next general election.

READ MORE: Call for beavers to be used to stop flooding in Norfolk

Eastern Daily Press: Labour group leader Steve MorphewLabour group leader Steve Morphew (Image: Archant)

Meanwhile, Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at County Hall, has called for the government to give the council more powers to protect communities.

Eastern Daily Press: Flooding at Potter HeighamFlooding at Potter Heigham (Image: Mike Page)

He said: "Recent floods and coastal erosion have shown us the scale of the crisis and three clear issues - nobody has overarching responsibility, there are not enough powers to deal with this in Norfolk and no budget for the extensive work needed to protect our communities.

"There are not the enforcement powers to ensure watercourses are cleared, prevent developers from building on flood risk areas in ways that make matters worse, or take meaningful action to stop water companies putting raw sewage into the sea and rivers."