Report prompts sea defences plea

A LANDOWNERS group yesterday said that sea defences along important stretches of the East Anglian coast should be strengthened in the short-term to help guard against the impact of sea level rise - as a new report warned that the threat posed by global warming was increasing.

By David Green

A LANDOWNERS group yesterday said that sea defences along important stretches of the East Anglian coast should be strengthened in the short-term to help guard against the impact of sea level rise - as a new report warned that the threat posed by global warming was increasing.

The report, Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, compiled by a group of international scientists, said the melting of the Antarctic was speeding up, raising the possibility of a 16ft rise in sea level.

It also set out concerns that there is insufficient international consensus to halt emissions of the gases causing global warming and prevent the rise in temperature that will take the Earth beyond the “tipping point” for reversing the meltdown of the ice caps.


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Nicola Currie, eastern region director of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), said the report highlighted the “crucial” need for a co-ordinated coastal defence strategy.

“Even now sea levels are rising so we cannot wait any longer for the government to act. If the present inactivity continues then it is only a matter of time before there is a major disaster,” she said.

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Mrs Currie stressed that existing defences had to be maintained while a proper strategy was drawn-up and implemented.

She added: “There are important stretches of the East Anglian sea defences where lifetime could be usefully prolonged if only there was an acceptance that to operate a stitch in time policy is best use of government funds.

“At relatively little cost, upkeep of these areas would buy time to provide the breathing space needed for a sound, properly co-ordinated coastal defence policy - designed for the long term - to be implemented.”

The CLA also claims the new report underlines the need for renewable energy to help combat climate change.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is developing a coastal defence policy via the Environment Agency.

The Government has already decided that available resources should be spent on protecting centres of population rather than farmland.

It is keen to promote managed retreat schemes in more isolated areas - as a cost effective way of creating natural sea defences and wildlife habitat.

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