Thursday, 20 March 2008


How much agricultural land is to be lost in 20 years time when TDC and The Environment Agency decide to let the sea defences between Reculver and Minnis Bay fail? I have shaded the area of low-lying land behind these sea defences but the whole drainage system round to Sandwich is low-lying and interconnected. How much will it cost, to compensate farmers and landowners to quietly have their land flooded, to build causeways for the railway, Thanet Way and A28?

Has Cllr Alasdair Bruce, our Birchington South TDC member and TDC lost the little picture? We are building up on the high plateau in Thanet and will probably carry on doing so for years to come. One can easily envisage a Thanet covered in concrete and surrounded by salt marshes and mosquito infested swamp as our heritage to our grand children, if we are not careful.

The good Dr Bruce talks poetically of 'little islands of nature reserves' and the plans being 'good for the environment and that the area will not be flooded all the time'. How will allowing sea water to cover this area act as a shock absorber? He even praises the Environment Agency for looking ahead 'decades into the future in order to protect the coastline'. So letting sea defences fail is 'protecting the coastline'; what 'Double Speak' is this?

We are talking about ruining between 6,000 and 10,000 acres of agricultural land that is currently producing FOOD. Is he and is TDC aware of the big global picture? Of course not. They cannot even understand that Thanet has an agricultural industry and agricultural land but fields have few votes I suppose, which explains why 'TDC life' is centred around Cecil Sq and visitors to Thanet and the TC.

Venezuela, Ecuador, Vietnam, India and Ukraine have all recently banned food exports to ensure food at reasonable price for their own citizens. Food commodities are rocketing in price and wheat doubled in price in the past 6 months. If Global Warming becomes as bad as the pundits are saying, extremes of weather, drought and flooding can and will affect world food crops and food supplies.

The UK will need to be as self sufficient as possible in food terms if we are to avoid that old fashioned word, HUNGER! This country will need those 6000-10,000 acres that the good Dr Alasdair and TDC see as pretty swamp for visitors to come and enjoy.

My advice to TDC is spend money on the sea defences from Reculver to Minnis Bay and anywhere else around the Isle that needs them and keep ahead of the rising water levels.

My advice to my grand-children, because TDC does not listen to advice, is to get an allotment now and start growing your own food, particularly as TDC has put up excellent security fences to keep out hungry, starving hordes from stealing your carrots and potatoes in 20 years time.


Rick said...

Bertie there is a grand plan.

Currently there are free trial seeds for allotment gardeners in a smaller variety of cabbage. (Since we tend now to have smaller families and smaller plots). Welcome to the window box cabbage.

What sort of fence should the railways use to keep people off the tracks ?

Bertie biggles said...

What a good idea!
As for railway fences discrete, unobtrusive and minimal? Sensible people keep away from railway tracks and many other countries do not bother to fence them in as a result.

Michael Child said...

Bertie old chap I think the problem here is that he hasn’t realised that the sea has got waves. This is what the Shoreline Management plan says about the period between 20 and 50 years from now if we let these defences go.

“There is the potential for flooding from this frontage, to combine with inundation from the east Kent coast (between Cliffs End and Deal north). Should this occur, then the former tidal channel between north and east Kent would be re-created. On each inundation, erosion and scour of the former channel will occur (the extent is of course governed by tidal flows). This has the potential to leave the Isle of Thanet separated from the mainland.”

Someone is going to have to invent a new unit for the costs involved, the billion won't be big enough.

Bertie biggles said...

Michael, thanks for the link and what interesting reading. My understanding is that they intend to hold the present line for 20 years and then let ingress occur up to the railway line!
Lots of talk about protecting Reculver Tower as an asset whilst the cycle and pedestrian route (Wantsum Way) used by hundreds on sunny days,is lost? The situation seems odd to me and I just hope that they rethink the strategy and hold the present line. Canterbury Council is responsible for this section and I wonder if that is part of the problem?
I find it risible that green tourism to look at inundated land is offered as a benefit! Keep building up the 'dykes' seems to me to be the most sensible option if we are to avoid the scenario you have posted!

Michael Child said...

Bertie I gather that the sea wall is already in a pretty bad state and that the sluice is broken and is effectively working backwards, so the sea water is getting in and the river water can’t get out.

What we have here is a short term money saving exercise disguised as environmentalism.

As the designers of the first attempt at the Turner Centre learnt to their cost, you don’t mess with the sea on the North Thanet coast.

In the 1953 storm most of our sea defences held and only 307 people lost their lives in the UK, in the Netherlands where the sea defences were badly breached 1,800 people drowned.

I beggars belief these people admit that the Thanet Way will have to go onto a bridge and so will the North coast railway line.

The shaded areas on the map click here to look at it shows the low lying ground that was once sea, perhaps the people living in the part of Canterbury likely to washed away ought to consider lobbying their council.

bertie biggles said...

Thanks for that link and map, Michael.
One cannot help but think that modern day planners and local politicians have no grasp whatsoever of history, as do our political leaders. They must insist, like spoiled teenagers, in making their own mistakes all over again, rather than learn from those who have gone before. We are likely to be turning in our saline drenched graves in the years to come, if they persist in such folly.