COP26: East coast communities plead for sea defences as more homes at risk of crumbling into sea

  • Watch Natalie Gray's report for ITV News Anglia

Coastal communities in the east are calling for world leaders at the COP26 conference in Glasgow to take action on coastal erosion before it's too late.

Discussions have centred on some of the biggest environmental issues facing our globe and on day two of the conference there have been pledges to reduce methane emissions and deforestation, as well as address the impact of littering on our planet.

Now in places such as Hemsby in Norfolk people want to see more action on coastal erosion, one of the biggest issues threatening parts of the East Anglian coastline.

Locals say better sea defences are needed to protect the Hemsby coastline

No-one is more aware of climate change than army veteran Lance Martin. Three-and-a-half months after he moved into his seaside chalet in Hemsby, came the Beast from the East when five houses fell into the sea and eight more had to be demolished.

The next big event could take his home too which is why locals and the crew of Hemsby lifeboat have helped build up sea defences around him.

A storm surge in 2013 devastated Hemsby, sending homes toppling into the sea Credit: ITV Anglia

Daniel Hurd knows the force of the sea well, as coxswain of Hemsby Lifeboat.

He has warned that there will no longer be a Hemsby beach, let alone a Hemsby lifeboat station, if permanent sea defences are not put in soon.

He said: "I've never known a performance like it, to sit round tables constantly arguing.

"We know what needs doing along this coast. We see it every year - the sea taking the base of the dunes."

Yesterday, a planning application was submitted for a 1,300-metre rock berm to run along the base of the dunes - giant boulders which would slow down erosion.

But funding it remains a challenge and it is unlikely to be built any time soon.

Lance Martin has seen the sea erode the dunes near his home in Hemsby over the past four years Credit: ITV Anglia

Around 3000 people live in Hemsby.

In the summer, 20,000 holiday makers flock to the resort and tourism alone is worth £20m.