Parts of East Anglia could be abandoned to the sea forever after recent floods

Repairing or improving flood defences is so expensive that areas of countryside which are still under water could be deserted, says Environment Agency

Parts of East Anglia could be abandoned to the sea forever after being flooded eight weeks ago, the Environment Agency has said.

The largest tidal surge in 60 years hit the east coast on December 5 and 6 causing extensive flooding as water poured over the top of flood defences or broke through them.

Repairing or improving flood defences is so expensive that areas of countryside which are still under water could be abandoned if no one lives there.

“We must prioritise repairs to flood defences that protect homes and communities and we are getting on with this,” said an Environment Agency spokeswoman.

“Coastal wildlife sites provide important flood defence functions as well as havens for wildlife. We are working with Natural England on how these wildlife sites will evolve in the future.”

 

More than 370 acres of land are still submerged and areas close to Brancaster, Blakeney and Salthouse in north Norfolk, are among the places most likely to be left to the sea. The Agency is talking to landowners about which places can be left unprotected.

Paul Leinster, chief executive of the Environment Agency, told MPs on Thursday: “The question has to be do we reinstate those defences and then allow fresh water habitat to re-establish or do we allow inter-tidal habitat to establish? These are big questions.”

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