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Joint statement on erosion at Hemsby

In a joint statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC), Coastal Partnership East (the council's coastal management team), Great Yarmouth MP Sir Brandon Lewis, and Norfolk County Council, said: ''For many years, Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Coastal Partnership East, with the support of Sir Brandon Lewis and Norfolk County Council, have sought to secure protection for Hemsby.

''The proposed rock scheme at Hemsby was costed at about £15m several years ago. However, due to inflation, the cost is now likely to be significantly higher.

''The primary source of funding for the proposed work would be via a Flood Defence Grant-in-Aid (FDGIA) from the Government and the amount of funding available depends on the number of assets (mainly residential properties) that would benefit from a reduced risk of erosion once the scheme is completed. Currently schemes of this cost and scale would only attract FDGIA where hundreds of homes are at risk.

''GYBC, Norfolk County Council and Sir Brandon have proactively lobbied over a number of years to argue the case for Hemsby - including meeting the Environment Agency recently. However, currently, the proposed scheme for Hemsby doesn't qualify for sufficient Government funding to allow it to progress.

''It is also the case that the proposed scheme for Hemsby would only serve to slow down erosion in the area, it would not stop it entirely. The proposed scheme, as it stands, would also most likely have a significant impact on the beach because much of the remaining beach would be covered by rock after the work was carried out.

''In April of this year, GYBC was extremely fortunate to have access to a stockpile of rock which it was able to buy. There is no further rock available at the moment because it is not usually stockpiled due to the significant cost for any local authority to have it 'on standby'.''

''The emergency work carried out in April was intended to mitigate the potential impact of erosion at the northern end of The Marrams and to try to protect access (to the maximum amount of properties for the amount of rock available) further south along The Marrams. Last weekend (October 14/15), there was some further dune and cliff erosion in Hemsby to the north of the rock, towards the main beach access. However, similar erosion was not seen where the rock was placed.

''Given this context, GYBC is looking at what funding and powers are available to try to avoid further emergency scenarios of people moving out of their homes literally overnight.

''We are preparing for what now appears to be the inevitable situation of losing more properties, either by the loss of the access road or directly from erosion. We are actively engaging with the residents of those properties which are likely to be affected to understand what support they will need to respond now to the risk of further erosion.

''GYBC is also in continued dialogue with the landowner to find out what assistance they intend to provide to people affected.''

Last modified on 19 October 2023

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