Top brass visits will help coastal cause - campaigner

A leading Norfolk coastal campaigner says the county's cause has been helped through brief encounters with senior government and opposition ministers on successive days.

Today Malcolm Kerby had a fleeting meeting with Conservative shadow environment secretary Nick Herbert during the MP's flying visit to Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex for a fact-finding tour about coastal defences.

And yesterday he had a 45-minute session with Defra environment minister Hugh Irranca-Davies in London, to discuss funding issues.

Mr Kerby is spokesman for the Coastal Concerns Action Group but has been a key player in national talks on coastal defence funding, blight issues and has led the forming of a new national group giving similar organisations around the country a single voice.

He was pleased to make his face known to Mr Herbert, whose helicopter trip took him from seeing erosion at Happisburgh to other parts of the region for an overview of beach recharges, man-made reefs and a scheme where landowners donated farmland later sold for housing to generate funds for sea defences.

Mr Kerby's session with Mr Irranca-Davies was over funding for administering the new National Voice of Coastal Communities group, but he also raised north Norfolk's bid for a share of an £11m pot of Pathfinder cash to help erosion-hit communities adjust and tackle the wider issues.

Mr Kerby said there was no decision yet but he left the meeting feeling "calmer" because of the minister's demeanour.

But he stressed: "We are a-political and need to work with which ever party is in power."