Al Jazeera throws international spotlight on Hemsby

Demolition work at Hemsby. Picture: Nick Butcher

Demolition work at Hemsby. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Documentary makers examining the global impact of climate change have focused their cameras on Hemsby.

The village has been hit by a string of catastrophic storm surges notably in 2013 and 2018 amid fears that climate change could make such extreme weather events more frequent.

Al Jazeera filming in Hemsby for climate change documentary

Councillor and cafe owner James Bensly at Hemsby with Al Jazeera presenter Amanda Burrell. - Credit: James Bensly

The film, being made by international news channel Al Jazeera, saw a team travel to the village on Friday, September 3 to interview those on the front line.

Among those spoken to were borough and county councillor James Bensly whose seaside cafe is a stone's throw from the waves and the creeping erosion risk.

Al Jazeera filming in Hemsby

Al Jazeera filming in Hemsby for a documentary about the challenges and impacts of climate change for communities across the globe. - Credit: Sigi Devos

He said he was proud to bring the village and its plight to the attention of a global audience, stressing the rallying response of the tight-knit community.

The film's producer Sigi Devos said the documentary looked at the politics and psychology of climate change challenges.
She said one of its strands examined "the gap between 'knowing and doing' among politicians everywhere, what the road map would need to be, and how to take the people with you."

Work has started on the demolition of the homes that are now overhanging the cliff on The Marrams, H

Flashback to when work started on the demolition of homes overhanging the cliff on The Marrams, Hemsby. Picture: NICK BUTCHER - Credit: Nick Butcher

The crew, including presenter Amanda Burrell, also interviewed Lance Martin, who they described as "a great frontline warrior for the east coast, resilient and  knowledgeable."

Mr Martin lives in the last house standing after all his neighbours' homes faced oblivion during the Beast from the East in 2018 and were subsequently torn down.

The former soldier, however, staged a tactical retreat pulling his home away from the edge to save it.

Lance Martin's efforts to protect his clifftop home in The Marrams, Hemsby look to have paid off aft

Lance Martin's efforts to protect his home in The Marrams, Hemsby, are ongoing. - Credit: Archant

The team will be visiting other communities across the globe affected by climate extremes.

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They described the village as having "a treasure of a beach."

Mr Bensly said: "This challenge is one for mankind and the problem is how to get everyone on board."

"If one thing good comes out of this pandemic it will be how people have stuck together, because that is what we need to do."

He added he hoped a planning application for a rock berm at Hemsby would be submitted by the end of the year.

The film will be shown on Al Jazeera English on November 3 during the week of the UN Climate Change Conference COP 26 running from October 31 to November 12.


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