§ Mr. David Porter
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will make a statement on his Department's role in protecting Southwold, Reydon, Walberswick and surrounding villages from the sea(a) currently, (b) in the next financial year and (c) till the year 2000;
(2) if he will make it his policy urgently to assess the criteria for saving domestic dwellings from the sea to take account equally of environmental factors, cost benefits and housing.
§ Mr. Curry
A scheme under the Coast Protection Act 1949 to protect Southwold harbour is with the Department for approval. Many additional schemes are being undertaken in this financial year following the winter storms and they also have priority, so some schemes approved this year may be delayed into the next financial year.
I am not aware of any plans to protect Reydon, Walberswick and the surrounding villages. However, if a scheme satisfying our normal technical, economic and environmental criteria is submitted to the Department it will be given full consideration.
§ Mr. David Porter
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will bring forward an urgent scheme to compensate people who lost their homes to the sea in cases where environmental considerations outweigh coast protection schemes; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Curry
Works carried out to protect land under the terms of the Coast Protection Act 1949 require my prior consent. In deciding whether to give such consent our policy is to require a proposal to be technically sound, cost effective and environmentally sympathetic, and we have no plans to change that policy.
We are not aware of any case in which a coast protection authority has decided not to seek our approval
Division Counties covered by division Number of items claimed Chelmsford Essex, Hertfordshire, parts of Greater London 15 Huntingdon Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire 7 Lincoln Lincolnshire 21 Norwich Norfolk and Suffolk 22 Crewe Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire 345 Nottingham Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire 33 Preston Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester 91 Worcester Warwickshire, West Midlands, Metropolitan County, Hereford, Worcester 35 Beverley Humberside, South and West Yorkshire 44 Carlisle Cumbria 134 Newcastle Northumberland, Durham, Tyne and Wear, Cleveland 26 Northallerton North Yorkshire 82 Guildford Hants, IOW, Surrey, West Sussex, parts of Greater London 39 Maidstone East Sussex, Kent, parts of Greater London 18 Oxford Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire 30 Exeter Devon 237 Gloucester Avon, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire 86
for works because environmental considerations were judged to override protection of homes. No proposal submitted to us has been denied our consent solely by reason of environmental considerations. The Coast Protection Act does not provide for compensation to be paid for losses arising from coastal erosion and we have no plans to change our policy in this respect.