July 2006 Update - SMP Consultation Response

When reading the response to last years Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) consultation I would ask everyone to remember that the SMP was required by Defra. The company which produced the SMP was appointed by Defra and paid by Defra. The guidelines and parameters within which the SMP was produced were laid down by Defra. What we are dealing with here is very much a Defra SMP produced in the name of the Local Authorities.

The SMP consultation response is absolutely scandalous, a complete whitewash, it makes no attempt whatsoever to take account of and build into the SMP local views. Like the SMP itself it chooses to ignore scientific fact that if selected, comparatively small, parts of the coast are defended it simply is not possible to achieve natural process elsewhere along the coast. The end result will be coastal chaos. Some would say pretty much a true reflection of the state of current coastal defence policy itself for England and Wales.

What we do learn from the response is that the SMP consultation itself was merely window dressing for a hopelessly inadequate, technically flawed SMP. It would certainly appear it was decided early on that there should be a period of public consultation, without it much criticism would have been leveled at Defra. However it seems the attitude was 'don't worry lads we will have the consultation, invite comment then ignore it' and stick to the original inadequate, seriously flawed policies anyway.

Almost 2500 people became engaged with the system believing the consultation to be an honest one. Every one of them has been let down by that system.

Quite simply what has gone on here stinks.
Consultation? ... What consultation!!
Response? ... What response!!

Go back to the drawing board Defra and your house trained, tame consultants. The people of Norfolk and indeed this country have a right to expect more of you. What you have produced thus far is inadequate, inoperable for the Local Authorities and unsustainable in the extreme.

Malcolm Kerby (04 July 2006)