Date with environment minister

A delegation concerned with climate change and coastal erosion - and their combined effects on communities in north Norfolk - will travel to London to meet the new environment minister later in the year.

A delegation concerned about climate change and coastal erosion - and their combined effects on communities in north Norfolk - will travel to London to meet the new environment minister later in the year.

Phil Woolas was appointed to the job at the last cabinet reshuffle and replaced Ian Pearson, who had recently visited Norfolk twice on factfinding missions about erosion and the climate.

Local campaigners, including North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and Coastal Concern Action Group co-ordinator Malcolm Kerby, had built what they have described as a "very good" working relationship with Mr Pearson.

"We want to do the same with Mr Woolas," said Mr Lamb, who has organised the trip to Westminster on October 31.

"The aim is to bring him up to speed and get to the same stage we were at with Ian Pearson before the reshuffle.

"What we want to get across to him are our concerns that communities are treated properly and for social justice to be considered.

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"We need to get straight in with the minister and build the same sort of constructive relationship we had with his predecessor."

Mr Kerby, who will also travel to London for the meeting with Mr Woolas, said: "There is still the very real and important issue of social justice to be resolved and we want to talk to the people at the very top of the decision-making process."

The meeting with Mr Woolas will include representatives from North Norfolk District Council.

Mr Pearson visited Norfolk in January and also last August. In his latest visit he spoke about both social justice and compensation - the furthest anyone in his position had ever been prepared to comment on the subject.

Mr Lamb has also written letters to Baroness Barbara Young, the chief executive of the Environment Agency, and Barbara Follett, the newly appointed minister for the east of England, asking them to meet the Norfolk delegation to discuss similar subjects.

Mr Kerby said the plight of Happisburgh had recently attracted more international media attention, including a visit from CBS News based in New York and interest from producers of a satellite television channel run by the European Commission.

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