House worth less than a loaf

A campaigner who has been told her house is worth less than a loaf of bread will today try to show the man in charge of the nation's sea defences the true human cost of the government's coastal policies.

A campaigner who has been told her house is worth less than a loaf of bread will today try to show the man in charge of the nation's sea defences the true human cost of the government's coastal policies.

The bungalow Jane Archer and her partner bought as a happy family home 21 years ago is still 60m from the clifftop, but is now worth just £1.

Today when environment minister Phil Woolas makes a fact-finding visit to north Norfolk over erosion and flooding issues she will be among the people keen to show him the impact of the government policy of abandoning sea defences without any compensation.

“I will tell him he is destroying our lives,” said 49-year-old Ms Archer. “Lots of money is spent by the authorities compensating and finding new habitats for rare birds whose homes are threatened by climate and coastal management changes - but what about people? Are they just going to let my house fall over the edge of a cliff, and leave us with nothing?”

Mr Woolas is visiting Norfolk following the concerns of hundreds of other people living near the coast and in low-lying Broads villages which are vulnerable to erosion, and a controversial Natural England option of allowing six villages and 25 sq m of countryside to flood in the future because it is too difficult and costly to defend.

After seeing reef defences at Sea Palling he will attend a meeting with representatives from a range of communities, including Ms Archer, who is a founder member of the Coastal Concern Action Group formed in her home village of Happisburgh in a bid to fight government “managed retreat” policies and battle for a fair deal for those affected by it.

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Also attending is North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb who said it should be a collective effort of society to pick up the bill for adjusting to climate change not people like Ms Archer who were “in the front line through a quirk of fate and having to bear all the cost themselves.”

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