Thursday, November 08, 2007

North Norfolk Coast Threatened by Tidal Surge

My thoughts tonight are with those threatened by the combination of a tidal surge and high tides, especially in my old stomping ground of North Norfolk. The residents of Cley and Salthouse (pic) in particular will be very worried this evening, as the sea threatens the sea defences which have protected them for so long.

Further along the coasts the residents of Overstrand, Mundesley and Happisburgh (pic) will be expecting further erosion of their cliffs. The photo shows Cliff House in Happisburgh (thanks to the CCAG website), a local tearoom which is about to go over the cliffs. Its owner, Diana Wrightson, is entitled to no compensation whatsoever.

I'll be thinking of Diana tonight.


Norfolk Blogger said...

I think they are saying the worst will be the Eastern coast of Norfolk, with North Norfolk perhaps getting off relatively lightly (I stress relatively).

But I echo your sentiments.

Anonymous said...

You may wish to know that the Government, due to the futility of employing a 'King Canute' approach to rising sea levels have gone for an approach of 'managed decline' for our sea defences..

Painful, but the fact is that with Global Warming, a large swathe is going to end up under the water by the next century. So our small island will get a whole lot smaller.

And yet they are still talking about building houses on the Thames Gateway 'flood plain'. Or using up more of the green belt to exacerbate the problem of run-off so that 'flash flooding' occurs in our town centres..

John Trenchard said...

two excellent weather-nut websites to keep an eye on as the surge develops are


there's a lot of experienced meteorologists, and amateur weather hobbyists on both sites and both are tracking the surge in their forums.

i've seen predictions of a 3 metre rise - nearly as bad as 1953. here's hoping the predictions are wrong.

the advice is to get the hell out of there tonight. the worst case scenario is that this could turn into a re-run of the storm of 1953.

if you have relatives/friends living on the east coast around norfolk/anglia/suffolk/kent, please do ensure that they are aware of this.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you think she should be entitled to compensation. Can I have some too? My house is being slowly washed away by the incessant rain

Anonymous said...

im in walcott Iain and hope to be ok. dont worry though GB has held a cobra meeting and that has reassured all us Tory voters in norfolk. i was in the dun cow at salhouse the other day. a fine pub

Anonymous said...

That'll teach the b******s for not electing you 'eh Iain!

Anonymous said...

I've been worried about a warning like this for some time. The people in East Anglai face the double worry of an insurance claim nightmare thanks to the government. Sadly few realise that back in 1961 the government off loaded the burden of compensating victims of flood damage to an insurance industry threatened with nationalisation. Insurers where pressed to agree flood cover for all home insurance policies to avoid nationalisation, and everyone received cover so that the risk posed by some would be spread over everyone’s premiums. However, the government made a promise to build and maintain defences to minimise the risk of a major catastrophe.

This wide scale insurance is rare, as the residents of New Orleans found to their cost, as most countries rely on National Government to deal with large scale flooding disasters. The floods we had this summer have now probably stretched Britain’s agreement with the insurance industry to the limit.
When in 2000, the UK suffered its worst flooding in almost half a century, almost 10,000 properties were flooded and almost £1 billion in insurance claims paid out. This led to insurers threatening refusal of cover to properties most at risk unless the government honoured its pledge on flood defences. They also started charging more for insuring in flood-prone areas, as technological improvements in modelling storms and forecasting flood risk helped them target risk.
Our problem is that the government has broken its promise. Spending on flood defences was increased from 2003, but official enthusiasm for building new flood barriers is waning. The campaign waged around Norfolk’s coast for flood defences improvements in the 2005 General Election, of which you were a part, shows what a concern it is to people, and that Government spending is not at the level people want. In July 2006 the Environment Agency’s budget for flood-risk management was cut by almost £15m, reversing a promise made just eight months earlier to maintain spending at current levels in real terms.

For the people of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, Government failure to address this problem could sadly come home to roost tonight. I sincerely hope it doesn't

I'll be praying my home county of Norfolk isn't too badly affected

James Tumbridge

Sue said...

My thoughts are with everyone living in fear of flooding tonight...I know what they are going through. We were flooded on 20th July and are still dealing with the aftermath of that.

Norfolk Blogger said...


Nice to see you drinking in a pub where the landlord is (or certainly was if it is still Tony Groom) a former Lib Dem councillor.

As for the comment abour compensation, yes, she should be compensated. She moved there when the environment agency pledged to protect the coast, since then they abondoned that pledge.

Rachel said...

Eeek. We used to have a cottage at Morston, rented out as a holiday cottage. I wonder if it will last another 10 years?

Blakeney, Cley, all around there is an area of outstanding fragile beauty - the seals are more resilient to change than the houses are though.

Pascal said...

The surfers looked disappointed...

Johnny Norfolk said...

A complete over reaction led by the Labour government and the media.

We Norfolk folk in the know just knew it was. The conditions were just not right, minor flooding maybe, but not what was predicted.

The storm was forcast to back off overnight as it has. we would have needed far stronger winds for longer for there to have been any serious risk.

Labour needs to change its advisors in these matters.

neil craig said...

Seems like it was ok this time.

I was interested to see that the reporting on this hasn't been blaming it on global warming but instead comparing it with the somewhat worse 1953. This is sensible since it indeed has nothing to do with now non-existent warming. On the other hand neither did New Orleans & remeber the hysteria baout that.

Iain I don't think the owner of the tearoom should be compensated. It may be harsh but this is a perfectly natural phenomenon which any surveyor's report over the last few centuries would have mentioned. This is another instance of buildings being treated as investments rather than places to live & work.

Gus Abraham said...

But I thought global warming was a myth create by looney left environmentalists???

Gus @

Johnny Norfolk said...

'But I thought global warming was a myth create by looney left environmentalists???'

Yes it is. we are in a warmer period and there is nothing we can do about it. read your history.

Edward 1 said...

Don't worry, King Gordon Canute will save the day!

Anonymous said...

Johnny Norfolk said...
"A complete over reaction led by the Labour government and the media.

We Norfolk folk in the know just knew it was."

I had never really believed what people say about the stupidity of Norfolk folk, but you appear to be a prime example of what they mean.

The tidal surge was the highest for 50 years.

gerry macleod said...

I've just signed the petition at after looking at an aeriel photo taken in 2001 and then looking at the Google local site. I am stunned that so much has disappeared in just 5 or 6 years and nobody in authority seems to be doing anything about it!

aardvark said...

I won't be signing the petition.

It is a simple question of economics. If the cost of preventing the coastal erosion at a particular location greatly exceeds the value of the land and the properties on it (plus a notional value for the social benefits) then there is no justification for the expenditure.

Of course, some degree of compensation for the displaced residents should be considered.