Senior councillors are urging the government to take the threat of coastal erosion and flooding seriously at a recent meeting on the issue. 

The call was made following a unanimous vote by Norfolk County councillors to put extra pressure on Westminster to do more to support those at risk of losing their homes to the sea.

Labour councillor Chrissy Rumsby said: "I do not think central government is taking Norfolk seriously - it feels like we are being discounted. He needs to speak with us and other people locally to find out how it is affecting people.

Eastern Daily Press: Labour county councillor Chrissie RumsbyLabour county councillor Chrissie Rumsby (Image: Newsquest)

"We need the funding formula for sea defences changed. This is a really important matter that affects the whole country, it will not go away."

Earlier this month, a contingent of Norfolk MPs and NCC leader Kay Mason-Billig travelled to Westminister to present to fellow MPs the case for more help to protect against the risk of flooding and coastal erosion.

But their hopes of speaking with Steve Barclay, secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs were dashed when he failed to meet with them to discuss the issues.

The move follows the recent news that two Norfolk communities living along the county's crumbling coastline - Hemsby and Happisburgh - would not get new sea defences.

Speaking at the meeting, councillor Eric Vardy, described the situation as "horrendous".

Eastern Daily Press: The rapidly eroding coastline at Hemsby is leading to homes being demolishedThe rapidly eroding coastline at Hemsby is leading to homes being demolished (Image: Mike Page)

Council officers have calculated that predicted sea level rises of up to 1.15 metres by the end of the century would lead to the loss of 1,030 homes and businesses by 2105.

They warn that Norfolk has part of the fastest eroding coastline in northwestern Europe, and time is running out to protect it.

During the meeting, there were also renewed calls for a coastal minister to be introduced to focus specifically on these issues and work together with local authorities.

Eastern Daily Press: James BenslyJames Bensly (Image: James Bensly)

Committee chairman, Conservative James Bensly, whose East Flegg division includes Hemsby, where families have seen their homes demolished, also called for an erosion insurance scheme to be developed, similar to a scheme already in place for those who have suffered flooding damage to their homes.

"It will help people living in places like Hemsby sleep safely at night," he said. 

A Defra spokesman said: “We know the devastating impact flooding and coastal erosion can have in Norfolk, which is why we have doubled our investment in flood and coastal erosion schemes in England to £5.2 billion between 2021 and 2027.

“As an area at significant risk of coastal erosion, North Norfolk is also receiving £15 million to trial approaches to adapt to the impacts of climate change.”