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Saturday, 22 September, 2001, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Flood money for Norfolk coast
Norfolk Coast
Sea defences on the Norfolk coast have been weakened
The storm-damaged Norfolk coast is to get 1.5m to pay for emergency works on sea defences.

The defences were weakened by high tides and strong winds on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The minister responsible for flood defences, Elliott Morley, has confirmed that the government will pay for the emergency work but no decision has been taken on an 11m scheme proposed for the longer term.

The flood warning for areas from Hunstanton south to Snettisham along the Norfolk coast was lifted on Thursday.

What we've tried to do in the past has been a bit like King Canute to stop the tide coming in

Robert Runcie, Environment Agency

High tides and northerly gales overnight on Tuesday stripped away the single shingle bank which protects the coast between the two areas.

Strong winds battered the coastline on Wednesday, raising fears that the remaining defences could be breached.

Work to repair the damage has already started.

Robert Runcie, East Anglian regional manager of the Environment Agency said the work will comprise the expansion of the shingle bank, and putting in rocks and concrete to try to secure the coast line.

"The East coast is a soft coast and responds to the changes of the wind and the tides," he said.

Money available

"And what we've tried to do in the past has been a bit like King Canute to stop the tide coming in.

"But what we're realising is that this isn't sustainable over the long term, so what we must do is to reduce the risk of coastal erosion."

Elliott Morley said the money was there to deal with the immediate damage.

"I can tell you I have approved immediate action to start work at Hunstanton to rectify some of the damage done this week.

"This will ensure the security of people who live there and also with an eye on the coming winter as well.

"The emergency repair work has already started and we'll be making a decision on the 11m pound long-term sea defence scheme for this stretch of the coast in the very near future."

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