No sign of cash for Suffolk's coast

PROPOSED national changes to how sea defence work is dealt with give no clear indications today of extra money to protect Suffolk's coastal communities.

PROPOSED national changes to how sea defence work is dealt with give no clear indications today of extra money to protect Suffolk's coastal communities.

After a week of ferocious high tides which saw temporary defences at Felixstowe and Bawdsey put to the test, leaders at Suffolk Coastal District Council say Government ministers need to provide more cash.

Deputy council leader Andy Smith said: “There is no clear commitment to increasing the funding for coastal defence works, something which we believe is becoming increasingly urgent and which the Government must address.

“The new proposals suggest introducing a new scoring system to prioritise those funds that are available, but this is one of the important examples where Defra has not given enough information.

“We do know that under the old system our planned works at Felixstowe were a top priority, but if there is no money available for new schemes, as happened this year, then what is the point of a scoring system?”

The council is cautiously pleased with the suggestion budgets for coastal protection and flood defence are split but is questioning whether there is enough information to divide them fairly.

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The council is also warning the proposal to bring in the system this year to judge next year's spending is too soon.

Following its failure to gain an expected £6million support from the Government for a long-term coastal defence scheme at south Felixstowe, the council has spent more than £800,000 in the last year on temporary work to shore up the sea wall.

Uncertainty of unding has also led to a partnership submitting plans for homes to be built in three coastal parishes to help fund the £2m cost of providing defences at Bawdsey's East Lane.

Do you think the Government is doing enough to protect the coast? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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