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Sea Defences, Bradwell Quay (Repairs)

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 28 October 1954

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asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps are being taken to protect the lives of residents and agricultural and other property immediately to the west of Bradwell Quay, Essex, where no work has been done to strengthen the sea wall since the first-aid repairs after the flood of January-February, 1953; and why this part of the sea wall has been neglected.

These defences protect a small area of land in which there was no loss of life in the exceptional flood of last year. The river board informs me that the defences in this area have been restored substantially to their pre-flood strength, first-aid repairs having been strengthend by backing the wall where breaches occurred. The board will consider the need for improving the defences in this area in due course: but it does not regard the matter as one of immediate urgency.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the river board informed me a month or two ago that it could not do very much about this place because the residents there are not subject to drainage rates? Is that really the reason why they are not to be protected? Even if fortunately, no lives were lost last year, is it not the case that many of the people living there are below high-tide level, and is not the Minister particularly concerned about the agricultural land?

No, the consideration of drainage rates, although something we should take note of, is not the main consideration. The broad policy is to restore the sea defences to the pre-1953 flood level except where there is a large population, industrial plant or exceptionally large areas of agricultural land. In this case there is no justification for raising the level of the defences immediately.