A shingle ridge which helps protect homes and caravans on part of the West Norfolk coast is in the spotlight.
It comes as the Environment Agency says it will continue to top up the ridge between Heacham and Snettisham for as long as it is technically, financially and environmentally possible but it will not build up the beach any more as its current monitoring shows beach levels are stable and this is not needed.
As a result, the borough council is going to examine its current coastal management policies, and write to the Government to reassure residents they will still be protected.
Borough council leader Terry Parish said it is the right time to look at policies and carry out a review of the shingle ridge. He said: “Over time this has been pushed back by the natural action of the sea. As a result, some residents have been digging into it as it has been encroaching on their properties.
“I’m aware that the EA, the lead agency in this area, are engaging with residents who have weakened this natural defence, to explain why they need to stop this activity. The EA has also brought forward a technical report on the defence to help identify what happens next in the area.
“There is no doubt that this is a complex situation which needs to be examined by council officers and members of the council’s Environment and Community panel. It will take some time to undertake a thorough review which considers all the data and the views of the experts and enables us to evaluate the costs and implications of any options or proposals. In the meantime, I have committed to writing letters to the Environment Agency and the Secretary of State to see what support and reassurance they can give to our coastal residents in the borough. Those letters will be signed by all group leaders at the council, as this is an issue that clearly concerns us all.”
Meanwhile a leaflet is being delivered to all properties behind the ridge spelling out how important it is and that people need permission from the Environment Agency before doing any work within 16 metres of it.
The Environment Agency will also be talking to residents and caravan owners about it, and warning of the risks of action against them if people dig into the ridge.