'Heartbreak' as lifeboat struggles to launch from eroded beach
- Credit: Archant
The coxswain of an independent lifeboat service is calling for urgent action on coastal erosion that is "taking years" and putting lives and livelihoods at risk.
Daniel Hurd, whose boat launches from the beach at Hemsby, said he was at a loss to understand why more wasn't being done more quickly to protect the community.
The independent service attempted to respond to an alert on Tuesday (April 6) involving a "woman in distress" and although it was stood down at the last minute vital time could have been lost negotiating a step carved out by high tides and winds on Monday.
As it was the depleted beach had already started to recover and they probably could have made it to the waves, albeit not as quickly as the crew would like.
"It is a constant battle down there," he said.
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"I have always said if there was a 10ft drop we would get the boat down there one way or another.
"It would have been a matter of getting shovels out, but it delays our launch time.
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"We were put under pressure last night, but before we had to launch the casualty was found and arrested.
"Getting this rock berm, there is too much talk and we want action not all this paperwork. It seems ridiculous.
"There are people losing their homes.
"It is heartbreaking when you see a nice coastline so damaged.
"The people in the summer love that beach and I am passionate about the coast.
"What the area brings in should surely outweigh the millions they would have to pay out for the scheme?"
A rock berm is being tipped as the most acceptable and affordable line of defence - although Mr Hurd favours groynes as a method of holding on to sand.
The cost and final design has yet to be worked out but is estimated at around £10m.
A public consultation is due to start later this month.
In the meantime it was up to volunteers and the goodwill of businesses making donations and offering their services for free or at a reduced cost to try and repair the damage.
The volunteer lifeboat crew is aiming to spend the weekend manoeuvring tonnes of sand to help build up the beach and also fill in dangerous gaps behind rocks.
Mr Hurd said while the berm was being worked out some financial help would be appreciated. Anglia Plant had always done their best to help and James Benlsy, ward councillor, had donated £400 of his allocated budget - but make-do-and-mend was not a solution.