Letting in water


It seems that Lord Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency has created a stir – especially for those that live near coast. In an interview with The Independent he said, "We are almost certainly not going to be able to defend absolutely every bit of coast – it would simply be an impossible task both in financial terms and engineering terms."

He's right. As the government isn't exclusively utilizing money from taxpayers who live on the cliff edge, or below sea level, it has to consider these things in the most cost beneficial way. And that means some houses will fall into the sea.

Of course this leads to cries of, "it's not fair" and "you should be doing something to stop the erosion." Or, in the case of this Telegraph article, seeking to apportion blame at the door of those who have an emotional attachment to our feathered brethren, or the EU.

If farmers and homeowners in East Anglia and parts of the South East want to protect their land, and the state won't help them, then they should do it themselves, whether individually or as communities. And they should ignore whatever the state may say or do to make that difficult – it is their property, after all.

Of course, if the environmental protection of these lands had not been centralized, and the risk of living or farming there had not been socialized, we wouldn't find ourselves in this situation. People would have taken out private insurance, taken steps to protect their property, or moved elsewhere.

In the current circumstances, however, it is surely fair that those that seek to protect their land should be compensated for being forced to pay for a system (through their taxes) that was founded on false pretences. Scrapping the Environment Agency could free up some useful money.

For now though, coastal dwellers will either be lucky enough to live in a Labour-voting constituency (where the taxpayer-funded flood defences will no doubt materialise) or be forced to retreat to higher ground.