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There is nothing worse than a full-scale Government muddle and Steart is becoming just that.

I received this letter from the Minister in charge:

The salient points are these... flood defences in the Severn Estuary are designed to protect 100,000 homes. But in Steart, by the Government's own admission, the plans for new constructions will safeguard not one single home. Instead its all about "habitat creation" and a blessed bird-lovers' EU directive.

and now there's more confirmation from the Environment Agency:

Sent: 16 February 2011
Subject: Steart Coastal Management Project

The Environment Agency’s scheme at Steart is not being promoted as a flood defence scheme, but it will have a benefit of enabling better flood protection to local communities and infrastructure on the peninsula, including Steart Village. The objective of the Environment Agency’s Steart Coastal Management Project is habitat creation. We are planning to start constructing the main habitat creation scheme in the Summer of 2012.  However, this is subject to funding. The total scheme costs are in the order of £17-£20 million. 


There is a big lie lurking in these answers. Both the Minister's letter and the Environment Agency claim that there has been full consultation and that the majority of locals are in favour. This is simply untrue.  

The Environment Agency’s name is mud.

Just before Christmas they bunged in a Planning Application to build an experimental flood bank on the Steart Peninsula. Putting in a planning application just before Christmas is like the Chancellor publishing his budget by means of a written answer on a Friday afternoon. The Environment Agency were trying to slip something nasty under the radar. They want to test if long-term ideas for a huge new £28 million pound permanent structure would actually work.


                 The Bristol Port Company is pretty unpopular too.

They want to extend Avonmouth container terminal. But in order to obey the rules they have to give back some land to the sea. They've picked Steart. The Bristol Port Company is about to launch a "public consultation" to tell the locals about their “exciting plans”. Needless to say the only thing Steart will get out of either of these schemes is some passing seabirds and a whole lot of water.


I launched a fierce attack on both organisations during a special debate at Westminster (Jan 12th 2011)

You can read the complete transcript here.

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  ©2003,2004 Ian Liddell-Grainger. All rights reserved.