Government urged to halt tax burden on ‘deprived’ coastal communities

Heavy seas at Mablethorpe.
Heavy seas at Mablethorpe.

THE Government is being urged to think again before burdening ‘already deprived’ coastal areas with further taxation to fund sea defences.

The Government is exploring the idea of more localised ‘Partnership Resilience Funding’ which could see those directly benefiting from flood defences having to fund them, rather than through national taxation.

Lincolnshire County Council is set to consider the idea at its environmental scrutiny committee this Friday, and is keen to stimulate a national debate on the issue.

According to the county council, just a 10 per cent contribution to the £7million annual Lincshore project which protects coastal land from Mablethorpe to Skegness through sand dredging, would cost East Lindsey residents 20 per cent extra on their council tax – and yet more if the costs were enforced on only those in the coastal lowlands.

“Drawing contributions from these communities would place an unfair burden on only a small proportion of the communities,” said an LCC report.

East Lindsey District Council says the partnership funding would cause problems.

East Lindsey District Coun Craig Leyland said: “In East Lindsey we have particular issues that would make partnership funding for a coastal flood defence programme difficult to achieve, including issues of deprivation, sparsity of population and the fact that we hold assets of national importance, such as high grade farm land, that makes the provision of a national flood defence critical to us.

“The word ‘defence’ implies a national importance, the Government needs to recognise this.”

The county council has already voiced concerns to the Local Government Association, saying the east coast is among the ‘most deprived’ areas of the country.

Do you agree with a more generalised taxation for flood defences? Email your views to sam.kinnaird@jpress.co.uk.