Tuesday, 28 January 2014

To rebuild... or not to rebuild

In no way am I a defender or apologist for the Environment Agency but their position is unenviable. With limited budgets and seemingly growing problems they can never satisfy an increasingly informed, interested and vocal society.  Away from their current hot potato in Somerset, where application of national dredging policies to a unique situation seems to be at the root of their position in the firing line, they face a real dilemma in Norfolk.

Where the December surge breached the banks at Salthouse and Brancaster there is real concern as to what happens next.  From 12 miles away, the Salthouse question seems to be largely about the merits of saltmarsh or freshwater marsh.  Questions over the ecological value of both arouse strong emotions and given the significance to the local economy of nature tourism it's not difficult see why. Purely personally, I can't help feeling that whilst we are all used to what was the case, i.e freshwater, it probably can't be maintained in the longer term.  I know the shingle has been historically pushed back and banked up again but my understanding that the current breaches are very close to historic positions of channels seems to suggest that as ever, round here the sea eventually has its way.

Slightly closer to home at Brancaster, I may have misunderstood, but the issue seems to be slightly different, with the emphasis being more on practical issues of access to the beach and the golf course. Strangely because the wider significance might be though smaller and thus the issue not so newsworthy (not, of course, that that would have any bearing on the outcome) this one might be considered easier to abandon by an Agency under pressure.  This would be a mistake; for those who need to use it, the repair and maintenance of this bank is vital, and not to do so would immediately lend it huge significance.

No comments:

Post a Comment