Concerns over value of sea erosion work

By Jenni DixonA HAMLET'S own King Canute will continue with his scheme to protect his home from coastal erosion despite concerns over its effectiveness.

By Jenni Dixon

A HAMLET'S own King Canute will continue with his scheme to protect his home from coastal erosion despite concerns over its effectiveness.

Retired engineer Peter Boggis has resumed his do-it-yourself sea defence at Easton Bavents, near Southwold, by importing 5,000 tonnes of recycled clay soil to shore up the base of the cliffs and plans to carry on with the scheme for as long as he can.

But Waveney District Council said yesterday it had “extreme doubts as to the effectiveness of these works”.


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It added: “The engineering works Mr Boggis carried out last year require planning permission. While Mr Boggis did not entirely agree, he agreed to submit a planning application and an environmental impact assessment. This he has failed to do despite earlier promises that he would.

“We are not in a position to judge the long-term effect of these proposals given their magnitude and neither is Mr Boggis. At least two other statutory bodies, the Environment Agency and English Nature, have concerns. We have never said that we will not grant planning permission.”

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But after studying planning, European and coast protection law, Mr Boggis claimed he did not need planning permission or an environmental impact assessment.

“This is an emergency situation - not a development which would need planning permission as it sustains agricultural land and the engineering aspects are permissible,” he said.

“In the short term it has already been proven that these works are effective and in the nation's interest. For example, the losses have been in order of 4,000 tonnes of material, which have saved in excess of 20,000 tonnes of virgin cliff.

“Soft sea defence schemes that I have piloted over the last four years have lost three metres of land, while adjacent land losses have been 15 metres.”

A spokesman for English Nature said: “English Nature will have concerns over any adverse impact on the site. We are currently involved in discussions with the Environment Agency and Waveney District Council over the issue.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency added: “What Mr Boggis is doing goes against the shoreline management plan drawn up by Waveney District Council in consultation with us.”

jenni.dixon@eadt.co.uk

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