When reading Guy Smith's article in the February issue, I was very surprised the traces of my Welsh and Scots great-grandparent's blood mingling with the sprinkling of Essex and Norman, had not apparently caused my blood pressure to rise, despite his remarks concerning the Celtic races, which I took as tongue-in-cheek humour, lightening a very serious subject.
Herewith my thanks Guy, for your comprehensive warning and focussing attention on what should be a matter of deep concern, thought and action, by ALL of us who live in the British Isles, whether we live at present under the threat of flood or not! We have to think of the future generations, to preserve life and land for them, from rivers and sea.
I for one would welcome information as to whom and where to apply for explanation of their terms "managed retreat" etc, and how they are supposed to work in preference to sea-walls for instance, which are also used to prevent under-mining of the cliffs around the coasts.
The day I read Guy's appeal, I also read that a programme about a farmhouse hanging over a cliff, was being screened that night on T.V. Unfortunately I was not able to watch it, but it revived memories of my niece who invested in a bungalow at Overstrand, Norfolk and was looking forward after much sadness, to a new life in a place she had grown to love, but it was not to be. She had to leave abruptly because of the rapidness with which the road and front garden was disappearing into the sea as the cliffs eroded. The stress and loss were contributory to her young and untimely death and in a comparatively short time afterwards, our last visit to see if anything had happened to save it, was heart-breaking. Along with others, it was balancing on the edge of the cliffs and must have gone into the sea soon afterwards.
So how will these proposed measures, such as disbanding sea-walls help all the coastal areas like Overstrand, not forgetting our own local cliff-falls?
As for the scenario of a storm force wind, an extraordinary bright full moon and extra high tide, spring or otherwise, which refused to go out, has already been played, and exceeded the height of the sea-walls, several times in the past. The nights of January 31st - February 3rd 1953, when the tide eventually levelled it was up to our bedroom windows, all twelve feet of it, exceeding the height of the sea-wall by approximately one and a half metres. So as we've been there and got many more permanent reminders, then muddy, salt-stained T-Shirts - well, thanks for the offer Guy, but we won't be gambling again!
I agree with the points you have made and to carry on fighting with the tried methods, as the Dutch have done. At least we have that chance, but how incredibly stupid and ungrateful we would appear, if we did not take it, in the eyes of countries like India who have no means to fight the horrendous, devastating earthquakes that beset them. Time to count our blessings, I think?