Suffolk MP Peter Aldous has hit out at environment secretary and known climate change sceptic Owen Paterson’s claim that last week’s floods were a freak event.

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The Waveney MP has said it is wrong to dismiss the storm surges as a “once every 500 year” occurrence, warning they are likely to be a thing of the future.

Mr Paterson escaped making a planned urgent statement in the House of Commons on Monday, which would have required him to answer questions from the floor about the floods, as MPs paid tribute to the first black president Nelson Mandela who died last week.

But he published a written statement on Tuesday in which he said: “The extreme conditions of last week put sea defences to their greatest test in 60 years. Record tidal surge levels were experienced at many locations, including at North Shields, Whitby, Hull, Immingham and Dover. In Wales, Rhyl was badly hit with 250 properties affected. Some parts of the East Coast experience such circumstances only once every 500 years.”

Mr Aldous has secured an adjournment debate on Wednesday and said he would raise concerns about the claim, which was made by Mr Paterson.

He said: “It is wrong to dismiss these floods as a once in a 500 year occurrence. There were floods six years ago. I think with rising sea levels these are going to be a thing of the future, and we do need to be looking at protecting the most vulnerable areas.”

It is not yet clear who will be called to respond to the questions, but Mr Aldous believes it could be a minister from Mr Paterson’s department Defra. It is unusual for a cabinet minister to answer questions in a backbench adjournment debate.

Mr Aldous said he expected other MPs to join him at the debate with a colleagues from Lincolnshire already indicating they would speak.

“Whilst the title of the debate is Waveney, I am going to widen it out to take in Norfolk aswell, and if others who are affected want to come in with interventions they can.”

He said that a very very serious crisis had “only just been averted”, but some areas had still been very badly affected.

“In Lowestoft a relatively small area has been affected, but it has been hit hard and I think we need to do all we can to make sure people who have been affected, whether it is residents or small businesses, are given every support to get back on their feet.”

He also questioned if the Bellwin formula, which councils can apply to for compensation, was “fit for purpose in today’s world”.

11 comments

  • Andy is right-Wells is a world famous example of the accretion process and Dunwich a local example of erosion. There has been some silly talk around these floods, the same sort of office bound shock horror we get when there is a bit of snow. 500 year levels for instance. By whose measuring and records with what accuracy? Storms and floods are nothing new to the region- Marshland regularly flooded up to the creation of the Eau Brink cut and Wash sea walls. Daniel Defoe wrote of great storms and of many houses on the East Norfolk coast having timber from wrecked ships in their construction.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

  • I think the badgers have been 'moving the goalposts' again.

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    One Horse Town

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • The continuous use of fossil fuels will ensure that sea levels are rising and that weather pattern become more chaotic, and the sinking of the eastern seaboard can't be halted. So how about forming a national coastal defence policy around these two facts Mr. Paterson, bearinbg in mind that any tidal structure can also be usede to generate energy, 247. Next weeks debate, called by the solar king of Waveney, will show how much politician value the realm, I bet that no more than 30 will attend the debate.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

  • Seems like one particular 'lamb' is ready for the slaughter !

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    freedomf

    Sunday, December 15, 2013

  • According to a local environmental expert and retired scientist these events whilst not necessarily increasing in frequency but will increase in severity because we are still extracting massive amounts of aggregate out at sea which is gradually robbing our beaches of our natural defences, namely the sand, why is this being ignored?

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    Old Long Balls

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • Of course it was not a freak occurrence. However, nor can one blame rising sea levels. The last authoritative study said that sea levels had risen by a only a very small amount over a long period of time - a very centimeters in fact which would not have caused the problems we have seen. The coast line has been changing for a long time with variable effects - look at Blakeney and Dunwich for extremes. I also agree that the continued extraction of aggregates must be having an effect - the quantity and natural flows within the north sea make it difficult to conclude otherwise. There is also no doubt that there has been considerable erosion in the last 2 or 3 years all along the Norfolk and Suffolk coast. We need to spend more on coastal defences rather than neglect them as has often been the case.

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    andy

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

  • After next weeks debate we will see that the only freak event we are suffering from, is the speed dating coalition's yoch we are under.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, December 15, 2013

  • It might help we laymen understand better if the amount of aggregate removed was expressed in relation to the volume of sediments which are expected to move naturally-I suspect it would not look so great in those terms. And whether changing the shape of sand banks off the coast has as much effect as the volume of material removed. I have been told that in the beach erosion process one small change can trigger other more drastic changes- one attributed the substantial loss of beach and the Manor Hotel at Caister -on -Sea to the removal of a small headland of soft cliff between Caister and Scratby by the MGNR in the 19th C. There is a report on the Sea Palling to Yarmouth stretch somewhere on line, but I think it is a desk study not new research.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

  • Milecross obviously has not read that the surge levels were higher this month than in 1953 in some places yet the damage nowhere near as bad because the walls at Lynn and Yarmouth etc had been improved and made higher The concrete wall sea defence from Waxham to Winterton is post 1953 as are the walls from Caister to North Denes. Of course it was a freak event if by freak you mean rare- it needed a combination of a deep low pressure moving down the North Sea, strong winds in an adverse direction and both to coincide with the highest spring tides.It happens, but not that often and not enough to be wittering about climate change and sea levels.Of course sea levels are rising-we are no longer strolling out to Dogger Bank and feeling chllly because the warmer interglacial is progressing. As for aggregate extraction causing a problem-why is Scroby building if that is the case? Some of the beaches on the east Norfolk coast have been down to clay and back up to a decent sandy beach a number of times in the last forty years-short term panics and assertions based on an ideaology don't help.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • the bottom line is that if this goverment and the last one had spent the money which should have been spent on sea defences then the damage would have benn kept to a bare minimum . . But now the goverment are refusing to pay a penny towards the damage . Like i said . You only get what you vote for . Norman lamb should be aware that if he doesnt fight the case for norfolk people ukip will

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    milecross

    Saturday, December 14, 2013

  • the reason many places were over run by the sea is the appalling state of the sea defences around norfolk and suffolk and the lack of money spent on protecting our coastline by goverment . You only have to walk around the coastline to see what is in effect a third world barrier . protecting most of the coastline . At the end of the day you only get what you vote for and norman lamb will have trouble hanging on to his seat if he doesnt come up with many millions to fund decent flood defences which are long overdue . At the moment he doesnt look like he is going to get a single penny

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Friday, December 13, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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