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East Coast: Area was just inches from being flooded

08:06 27 February 2014

Henry Cator, new High Steward of the Great Yarmouth borough

Henry Cator, new High Steward of the Great Yarmouth borough


Norfolk and Suffolk came within inches of being flooded when the tidal surge struck the East Coast in December, Norfolk farmer and drainage boss Henry Cator told MPs.

The former chairman of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, who is now chairman of the Association of Drainage Authorities, told the environment select committee it was time the Treasury realised that proper money needed to be invested in maintenance.

He said that Great Yarmouth had come within inches of being flooded, and the government could not take for granted that systems would work without spending money on maintenance.

After visiting the flood-hit Somerset Levels over the weekend he said the cost of inaction was “very high”, telling MPs that the diesel for the pumps was costing £200,000 a week alone.

Mr Cator, who farms at Salhouse, near Norwich said: “During the December storm the east of the country came within inches of being inundated. It was only spared by luck. Be in no doubt there is no room for complacency.”

He called for more money to be spent, saying: “Maintenance is not a luxury... If you don’t do it you are in trouble.”

He warned: “We are very nearly in trouble in a huge number of areas throughout the country. It is time the Treasury realised that proper money needs to be invested in maintenance if we are to have any hope at all of protecting ourselves against the challenges that climate change is throwing at us.”

Mr Cator called for the government to give more input to internal drainage boards and local authorities.

He said: “On the whole local people have a much closer connectivity with the catchments we are talking about. We all realise money is short. There is not a bottomless pit. But the consequences of not spending money on maintenance are dire.”


  • Even a brain dead amoeba can see that the three main parties have no interest in the British people, why do the sheep keep on voting for these traitors? There is plenty of money to pay for a new generation of sea defences but that would leave less cash for the faceless rats to cream off.

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    banned user

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Britain should spend money on itself rather than fighting other people's wars or bailing out other countries.

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    peter waller

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • One thing that has become all the more apparent is the lack of democratic accountability at local level in terms of basic issues like flooding and drought.These matters are too important for arms-length bodies and privatised utilities with reduced or little accountability to the general public.

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    Peter Watson

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Where was Henry Cator on the night of December 5th and since? Norfolk and Suffolk WERE flooded, the worst since 1953. And are still dealing with the after effects. Or did I just imagine it all? Government has already declared that parts of the coast will be allowed to disintegrate because the costs of protection outweigh the gains but at some time in the future and the way the climate is changing, Wroxham will end up on the coast sooner than you might think.

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    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • walls built a hundred years ago proped up with sandbags simply are not good enough and resembles a third world effort . Where is that man who said money was no object . At the next election what is the betting that sea defences will be in the same state as they are now

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    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • There is little doubt, with the changing weather patterns, Norfolk and Suffolk are going to be caught out big time in the near future, we won't keep getting away with it by the skin if our teeth.

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    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Ref Henry Cator's comments re December 5th etc the one aspect that prevented a major disaster occurring in Lowestoft & Yarmouth was the offshore wind. The government's adopted policy of managed retreat (aka abandonment) on the east coast is flawed, and fails local citizens and businesses. This must be changed. I have been in the Netherlands recently, the Dutch do not abandon their people, businesses or land.

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    Grey Fox

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Would Henry Cator like to throw his weight behind the cancellation of the incinerator which NNC is hellbent on building on a floodplain. All the facts are there Henry. Just ask the experts at KLWIN - they have the evidence which NCC refuse to accept.

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    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • year after year we read about councils having to make millions of pounds in cut backs, now we are paying the price, services cannot be cut back any more, when did you last see a gully sucker clearing leaves from drains, result flooding, cut backs in nursing staff, result high number of hospital deaths, problems getting doctor appointments etc,etc. stopping cut backs will create employment where industry has disappeared, wake up and smell the coffee.

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    gerry mitson

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • The Government seems to throw money at any country that has a crisis. Os.borne now wanting to send aid to Ukraine is a fine example. Russia wanted Ukraine's allegiance - let them help them. Wake up please George - the citizens of Gt. Britain need help - we are in crisis!! The ivory towers the Government have built themselves are blinkering the needs of the people. As far as the Tories in Westminster are concerned, we do not matter. We're just small fry...............

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    Nowhere man

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

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

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