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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
High Court to settle defences row
Peter Boggis
Peter Boggis is fighting to stop the cliff eroding
Plans to let the sea erode cliffs on the coast, destroying homes, are to be challenged in the High Court.

Peter Boggis, 76, a retired engineer from Easton Bavants near Southwold in Suffolk, will challenge Natural England plans for a protected scientific site.

Mr Boggis has built his own coastal defences to prevent erosion and save his home and those of his neighbours.

Nicholas Blake QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, has now given him permission to seek judicial review.

Natural England wants a fossil-bearing area on the Suffolk coast to be allowed to wear away, exposing strata of soil and rock for study.

They also want to stop Mr Boggis' conservation work claiming it is damaging a protected site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

'Seekeing to destroy'

Mr Boggis is now locked in a complex legal battle which could have wider implications.

The erosion of the Easton Bavants cliffs by the North Sea and the weather is the feature which led to the SSSI being declared in 2006.

As cliffs crumble, sediment and fossils are exposed and can be studied.

Mr Boggis's so-called "soft sea defences" consist of 250,000 tonnes of compacted clay soils he had specially delivered.

John Howell QC, for Natural England, said the agency was within its powers to confirm notification of the SSSI.

He rejected claims by the Easton Bavants conservation group the agency was unlawfully "seeking to destroy, rather than conserve and maintain" the existing geological features of the cliff face.

Judge Blake ruled Mr Boggis had an "arguable case" that should go to a full hearing as it raised issues of importance that could affect other areas of coastline that are eroding.




SEE ALSO
New battle to save clifftop home
17 Feb 04 |  Suffolk

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