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Meetings will give the public a voice

PUBLISHED: 15:21 04 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:48 03 July 2010

A LEADING coastal campaigner and a Norfolk MP will host a trio of meetings in the next two weeks to give the public a voice in the debate about the future of the northern Broads.

A LEADING coastal campaigner and a Norfolk MP will host a trio of meetings in the next two weeks to give the public a voice in the debate about the future of the northern Broads.

Proposals for the future of the waterways have already been discussed behind closed doors at a conference in Norwich on climate change, organised by Natural England and attended by representatives of the Environment Agency, Broads Authority and Norfolk County Council, plus other organisations.

But the public needed a forum to make their feelings known, said Coastal Concern Action Group co-ordinator Malcolm Kerby.

Although some people might perceive CCAG as a Happisburgh-based group with a main focus on cliff erosion, it has built up a reach into several government departments and is now an internationally-recognised body.

“There has been a massive response in the last few days. We need to strike while the iron is hot and give people the chance to say their piece. This can then be fed back up the chain via us and the MP.

“We need to try and get an air of calm back to proceedings and explain to people that horrendous though this proposal may be, it is purely the wish list of a government quango, a quango which does not have the ultimate power to put it in place.

“We cannot let them keep banging on about this without consulting with the stakeholders, which means us.

“These three meetings will be in-house gatherings for the wider family of north-east Norfolk to gather and discuss, there will be no constraints, no officialdom, an uninhibited discussion.”

Mr Kerby said people needed to vent their anger at the authorities responsible for shaping coastal defence policy - Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb will attend the meetings and said yesterday: “We need an opportunity to talk to the communities concerned and to give them an opportunity to raise particular concerns and anxieties.”

The meetings will be held at St Mary's Church, in Hickling, on April 8; Potter Heigham village hall on April 9; and Sea Palling village hall on April 15. All meetings start at 7.30pm and will be open forums.

For more details log on to www.happisburgh.org.uk

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