Page last updated at 18:29 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Court to rule on DIY sea defence

Peter Boggis
Peter Boggis used 250,000 tonnes of compacted clay to protect his home

A Suffolk man has lodged an appeal against a court ruling that he needs planning permission to build his own sea defences to protect his home.

Peter Boggis, 78, installed his own defences near his Easton Bavents home but Natural England wanted the fossil-bearing cliffs to erode naturally.

In October, the Court of Appeal said Mr Boggis must apply for planning permission for the protection.

Now he has asked the Supreme Court if he can appeal against the ruling.

Mr Boggis said: "I am determined to do everything in my power to protect the little village my family established 100 years ago from being destroyed."

We fully understand that Mr Boggis is concerned to protect his home but the route to resolve the problem is the well-established planning system
Shaun Thomas

In 2008, the High Court said Natural England's decision to permit erosion for "scientific reasons" was unlawful but the Court of Appeal quashed the ruling.

The sea defence work carried out by Mr Boggis and other members of his conservation group was done without planning permission.

The Court of Appeal said the only lawful course open to him was to apply for permission and go through the correct planning procedures.

Mr Boggis, whose house is now 269ft (82m) from the cliff edge, claimed his own soft earth sea defences had so far saved more than eight acres of land and four properties "at no cost to the nation".

Permission is possible

Natural England declared the area a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 2006.

Shaun Thomas, Natural England's East of England regional director, said: "Mr Boggis has no justification for implying that 'the state has plans for the destruction of a village'.

"The SSSI notification does not constitute a plan to allow the cliffs at Easton Bavents to erode and does not constitute a plan to prevent communities from defending themselves against destruction by the sea.

"The Easton Bavents site is of national conservation importance but it does not stop Mr Boggis from applying for planning permission for the works that he wishes to put in place to protect his home.

"It would also not stop Waveney District Council from granting this permission if they chose to do so.

"We fully understand that Mr Boggis is concerned to protect his home but the route to resolve the problem is the well-established planning system."

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