January 2008 Comments

Well, here we are another year begins full of hope and expectation.

Hope because we simply have to hope that DEFRA, the Environment Agency, Natural England and perhaps most importantly the Treasury begin to understand the reality of coast management and respond accordingly.

Expectation, this for me is the depressing one, because I fully expect Central Government and all it's agencies and quangos to continue on their chosen coast management path and not be swayed by facts, logic, evidence, discussion or argument.

We have featured on television and the in the press many times throughout Europe over the past year. Without exception they are absolutely confounded by the British approach to coast management. Initially they find it difficult to believe then as the evidence is laid before them disbelief turns to incredulity, they can see for themselves but can't really believe what they are seeing.

We would like to thank all the friends we have made in the world's press and media, in the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea and throughout Europe, the list goes on and seems set to continue growing. To you all our best wishes for 2008.

To the many friends we have made in the British press and media, including of course our own, superb regional paper the Eastern Daily Press. Thanks for your concern and coverage over the last year and best wishes for 2008.

In coast management 2007 brought change, unfortunately not policy change but some of the key players. We lost a damned good Minister, Ian Pearson MP, in the Brown reshuffle. Ian proved he was a Minister who could not just listen but hear and act. I am sure we owe much to him for the announcement of the Adaptive Toolkit monies in the Comprehensive Spending Review. Our thanks and best wishes for the coming year Ian.

We also lost Sarah Nason, she was Head of Flood and Coast Management at DEFRA. I personally regret her being moved on, she is a really competant civil servant whose integrity I never doubted and whom I respected greatly. My thanks to her for putting up with me and my sometimes direct approach. I hope at least I was always polite when I made the case on behalf of the people on the coast in the strongest terms. Best wishes to her for 2008.

To the increasing number of friends we have made around our coast I have had the privilege of working with in Cleveland, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Somerset our very best wishes for 2008

Many thanks to the Elected Members and Officers at North Norfolk District Council in spite of some criticism they have done a great job. Our best wishes for 2008.

My apologies to anyone I have left out. On behalf of CCAG and the people of Happisburgh may I wish everyone a healthy, happy and safe New Year.

Malcolm Kerby (01 January 2008)