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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
MP's 'warning' over sea erosion
50yds of the sea defences next to the Shore Break cafe, Felixstowe, was damaged by strong seas
Part of the Felixstowe sea defences were damaged
Former environment minister John Gummer has attacked the government for not taking action after part of a sea wall collapsed at a Suffolk seaside town.

Fifty yards of sea defences next to the Shore Break cafe in Felixstowe were damaged by strong seas on Saturday.

Suffolk Coastal MP Mr Gummer said he had repeatedly warned the government to provide funding to improve the sea wall or risk disaster.

The government said this year there was a "record budget" for flood defence.

But Mr Gummer said there had not been any money to improve these sea defences at Felixstowe.

New defences were to have been built in Felixstowe earlier this year, but the government announced there was no money for the 10m scheme.

Felixstowe erosion
Erosion has left the Shore Break Cafe high and dry

Suffolk Coastal District Council fears 1,600 homes could be at risk because of the failing defences and coastal erosion.

Mr Gummer said: "The government claims it has run out of money. It wrote to Suffolk Coastal District Council to say it would provide 100% of funding and then said it was providing 100% of nothing this year or next.

"I was so concerned I went to see Mrs Beckett (the then environment minister). I warned her if they did not act at once there would be a disaster and that is what has begun to happen."

'Application for funds'

A council spokesman said it would try to build up the defences next week, but these would only be stop-gap measures.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: "The council (Suffolk Coastal) is likely to apply to Defra for funds to cover the cost of these works and we will consider any application when it is received.

"The condition of the frontage today is not a sudden occurrence and has been deteriorating over a number of years.

"The council has prepared a scheme to replace the sea wall and beach groynes, but this year's record budget for flood and coastal defence is fully allocated to projects which have already made formal applications for funding."

Sea wall breaks at erosion site
21 May 06 |  Suffolk
Coast examined after flood alert
14 Feb 05 |  Norfolk

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