Coastal Erosion on the Norfolk Coast: The Case of Happisburgh
Winter storms during December 2005 have left a row of houses at Happisburgh, North Norfolk dangerously close to the cliff edge, in this small village which has already seen a loss of 26 homes, claimed by the sea over the last 15 years. Storms in December, saw further erosion of the cliffs, Cliff House Guest House and Tea Room, owned by a Miss Wrightson, is one of a row of four properties that are now under threat from the sea. Where once, other properties separated the guest house from the sea, now only 1 metre separates the sea from the garage of the Guest house. House owners are unable to insure their properties and they will receive no compensation from the government for loss of their properties, when they finally fall victim to the encroaching sea.
Revetments used to provide some protection for the cliffs, but following a storm in 1990 when 300m of revetment was destroyed, the sea was able to start eroding the land beyond. The situation has gone from bad to worse as the revetment maintenance was abandoned Plans for new defences have failed due to various objections and changing guidelines from the government department DEFRA (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). Cost-benefit analysis has shown that it is often not economically viable to defend small rural communities, these analysis require the value of property under threat to be greater than the cost of protecting it for coastal defence to be economically viable. For full details of the erosion problem and the sea defences that have been planned / used in the past few years see this detailed article look at the problem of coastal erosion at Happisburgh Happisburgh Falling into the sea.
Article: January 7th 2005
Other Useful Articles for Research / Further Reading:~
Coastal Erosion Leaves House on the Edge - Article from the Coastal Concern Action Group
Photographs of Erosion at Happisburgh - some fantastic photographs here from Andrew Stacey's Geography Department Website (East Bergholt High School) - well worth a look!
Happisburgh is Being Abandoned - Coastal Concern Action Group - excellent overview site with photographs and details of the problem
Coastline Residents send out an SOS - August 2003 BBC News Article
Sea threat to Coastal Communities - 2004 BBC News Article
Surrender to the Sea Threat Grows - October 2004 BBC News Article
My House could fall into the sea - Guardian News Article December 2005
Price to pay for living on the edge - Observer January 2003 (explores some of the economic losses)
Watery grave that waits for Happisburgh - good article from the Telegraph December 2004
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