Coastal protection tree planting scheme in Norfolk gets the green light

At a public meeting entitled “Fighting Coastal Erosion and Climate Change” held in Happisburgh Village Hall on 14th June 2012, a pilot demonstration of a natural, economical and sustainable option for coastal defence involving community planting of a bioshield coastal trees, was presented to the local coastal community by registered charity, the FREdome Visionary Trust.

Happisburgh coastline

Happisburgh coastline, Norfolk

They pointed out that in New Zealand community re-vegetation has already been applied successfully and economically to all types of coastal terrain similar to those found in the UK, and in West Java it has been shown that coastal trees can protect homes even from the full force of a tsunami. (See

Furthermore, the proposed option could also help mitigate the drought-deluge cycle experienced in East Anglia, support UK food security and provide a pilot demonstration of “Operation OASIS” – a path to sustainable growth through the natural conversion of carbon emissions and waste into food and fuel starting from arid shores. It was expressed that there is clear justification for exploring such a course of action.

A show of hands was invited to signal interest in exploring further. All but one hand was raised; Malcolm Kerby of the Coastal Concern Action Group was against and there were no abstainers. Malcolm has stated that the Government actively wants this section of coastline to continue to erode and “any proposed works on the coast require the written permission of The Secretary of State”.

However, a letter forwarded recently by the Prime Minister from the Secretary of State for Defra has stated, “It should be noted that Project OASIS does not need my agreement in principle for a pilot demonstration.” He went on to recommend that the project should “work with a coastal community to develop a bid to the Coastal Communities Fund, which is available to support projects that make better use of coastal assets in producing sustainable economic growth and jobs that are better equipped to adapt to change. This year £24 million was made available and next year this will rise to £28 million.”

The next planned step in the project is therefore to form a partnership with a coastal community in order to construct an application to the Coastal Communities Fund to finance a pilot demonstration of the proposed methods. Bryony Nierop-Reading, the only remaining resident of an otherwise-demolished row of homes on Happisburgh’s Beach Road, has offered her section of the coast for an experiment and is forming the “Save England- SOS Save Our Shores – Happisburgh Branch.”

Source: FREdome Newsletter, 5th November 2012

Note from Fredome: If you are a member of a coastal community whose property or land is threatened by coastal erosion and would like to see this coastal defence option explored, please contact Greg Peachey email hidden; JavaScript is required

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