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Oliver Letwin's Column: Preparing ourselves for storm
10:00am Saturday 8th February 2014 in News
At the time of writing this article on Friday morning, we are all bracing ourselves for another mighty storm.
It is very strange sitting at the Cobra meetings in a bunker in London hearing the experts describe the extent of the damage caused by waves and wind along a stretch of coast that turns out to be right on your own doorstep.
As I write, the Environment Agency and the military are working hand in glove to try to find some means of reinforcing the sea defences at Chesil and further down towards Portland. I just hope that this proves sufficient to prevent massive damage in what looks as though it will be an enormously challenging couple of nights ahead.
So far, thank goodness, the defences at Lyme Regis and West Bay seem to have held up remarkably well – and I hope that this statement will still apply when you, dear reader, are reading this column (and, indeed, by the time we reach Sunday and the worst of the weather is over).
Clearly, there is going to be a lot of work required in the spring and summer months to repair the damage done to our defences by the storms along the south coast – and I am afraid that all the signs are that, with rising sea levels, these events will be a more frequent part of our winters over coming years. As the debate rages over the extent to which these weather patterns are themselves due to climate change, the one item that is certainly not in doubt is that global warming and the rising sea levels make islands like ours increasingly exposed when there is bad weather – so we will have to continue to plan for massive investment for decades to come.