Judges sink ‘King Canute’ battle for homes

Peter Boggis, 78, has spent tens of thousands of pounds building earth barriers to protect his home at Easton Barriers, near Southwold, Suffolk, and those of his neighbours which are threatened by erosion to the cliffs on which they stand. But Natural England, the Government conservation agency, wants the fossil-rich cliffs to wear away, exposing strata of soil and rock for study. Mr Boggis had carried out the work carried out on the sea defences without planning permission, and the Court of Appeal said in its judgement that the only lawful course now open to Mr Boggis was to apply for permission and go through the correct planning process. Mr Boggis, whose house, The Warren, is 302ft from the cliff edge, says his defences have so far saved more than eight acres of land and four properties ‘at no cost to the nation’ and that his efforts would, if anything, slow down the expected loss of habitat on the wildlife site.