Millions awarded to coastal communities

Three Norfolk and Suffolk councils were today awarded a total of more than £4.8m to tackle coastal change and erosion.

Officials at government department Defra confirmed that North Norfolk District Council will receive £3m for a wide-ranging programme of work to support the continued vitality of its coastal communities at risk.

This will include engagement with communities, advice to businesses, capital works on key community infrastructure and supporting relocation of homes and businesses at risk.

Waveney District Council will receive £1.53m to undertake in-depth adaptation planning with communities at Corton Village and Easton Bavents.

Alongside this, a comprehensive beach strategy will explore and deliver practical solutions to the impacts of coastal change on access and amenity at local beaches.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council will receive £296,500 for a joint project with the community of Scratby to explore and test different approaches to adaptation such as roll-back and business support programmes.

In total there are 15 coastal change pathfinder authorities who will explore new ways of adapting to coastal change.

They will split a pot of £11m between them and explore new approaches to planning for and managing adaptation to coastal change in partnership with their communities.

The cash needs to be spent by spring 2011.

Today North Norfolk District Council's head of coastal strategy Peter Frew said he was delighted at the news.

And although the council's full bid of £5.78m had not been agreed to in full by Defra, he said: "My reading of it is that we will be able to do all we wanted to do in terms of projects, but maybe not quite as much of it."

And Malcolm Kerby, coordinator of the Coastal Concern Action Group, said: "It's fantastic news, although it would have been nice to have got the full whack.

"There is now a pot of money to purchase properties which at one stage we really could never have dreamed about.

"And the fact that £3m is out of a total of £11m, it does demonstrate how important north Norfolk is in the national picture when it comes to this subject."

See tomorrow's EDP for a full report.