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Minister's first hand look at erosion

PUBLISHED: 14:35 15 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:04 30 June 2010

John Owens

FEARS for the coastline along Norfolk were outlined to the minister for marine and natural environment Huw Irranca-Davies when he visited yesterday.

Mr Irranca-Davies heard the concerns of locals when he visited Lowestoft, Hopton and Scratby and was accompanied by Tony Wright, the MP for Great Yarmouth.

FEARS for the coastline along Norfolk were outlined to the minister for marine and natural environment Huw Irranca-Davies when he visited yesterday.

Mr Irranca-Davies heard the concerns of locals when he visited Lowestoft, Hopton and Scratby and was accompanied by Tony Wright, the MP for Great Yarmouth.

The morning visit follows a similar trip made by the minister last year, and the allocation of more than £290,000 in central government funding for the pathfinder project around Yarmouth.

The money is a slice of a larger national budget of nearly £5m, and was part of a competition in which funds were given to encourage looking at new ways of coping with the erosion problems.

Mr Irranca-Davies discussed the need for community involvement in the development of ideas and emphasised the importance of considering 'soft' defences like buy-to let schemes.

He said: “It's one thing to look at maps but it's another to come out and meet the people involved. The Pathfinder project is about making sure we have as many tools in the toolbox as possible to deal with this situation.”

Accompanied by coastal manager for the Environment Agency Mark Johnston, the minister dealt with issues such as the impact of Yarmouth's outer harbour on local beaches, and heard suggested solutions including an artificial reef.

Jim Bratton, secretary of the Scratby coastal erosion group, said: “We're always very pleased to see senior government ministers showing an interest and it gives us hope for the future.”

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