Campaigner wins sea defences fight

A RETIRED engineer today won his High Court battle for the right to continue to wage a one-man war on coastal erosion and defend his home from the advances of the sea.

A RETIRED engineer today won his High Court battle for the right to continue to wage a one-man war on coastal erosion and defend his home from the advances of the sea.

A judge ruled that a decision of Natural England, the body responsible for the country's natural features, to allow the fossil-bearing cliffs near Peter Boggis' home to continue to erode “for scientific reasons” was unlawful.

Mr Boggis, 77, has spent thousands of pounds creating his own costal defences from some 250,000 tonnes of compacted clay soils near his home in Easton Bavents, near Southwold.

But despite today's victory Mr Boggis will not be able to continue crafting his home made sea defences until after a possible appeal by Natural England.


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Malcolm Kerby of the Happisburgh based Coastal Concern Action Group, who has known Mr Boggis for several years and has shared a platform with him at public meetings in the past, said he was delighted by the victory.

He said: “I would like to congratulate him. Peter Boggis is one of life's absolute gentlemen and a brave man indeed.

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“He has soldiered on against all the odds and he has not allowed the great machinery of government to intimidate him. It is a shot in the arm for all coastal dwellers.”

Helen Phillips, chief executive of Natural England, said: “It is right that outstanding sites such as the Easton Bavents cliffs area are recognised for what they are and designated as areas of national conservation importance.

“Natural England has a legal duty to do this. However, designation does not make it in any way inevitable that Mr Boggis will lose his home and we have no desire to see this happen.

“Regardless of whether the area is a SSSI or not, it remains open to Mr Boggis to seek the necessary legal permissions from the District Council and the Environment Agency for the sea defences he wishes to put in place.

“To date, Mr Boggis has not chosen to go pursue this route. We would encourage him to do so rather than present legal challenges that bring him no closer in determining whether his sea defences can be declared legal or not”.

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