Coastal erosion in Lancashire raised in Commons

Image caption,
The hamlet has a memorial to an 18th Century African slave

An MP concerned about erosion of part of the Lancashire coastline is raising the issue in the Commons later.

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said 1m (about 3ft) of coast at Sunderland Point was lost each year.

He said several homes needed more protection from the elements, and local residents should be allowed to help build a sea wall.

The area houses a memorial to a young African slave, Sambo, who is thought to have arrived at the port in 1736.

He was brought to Lancaster by his master after working as a slave in the West Indies.

He was taken ill and died near a local inn at Sunderland Point. For years his grave was unmarked, until in 1795 a local schoolteacher raised money for a memorial.

Mr Morris is set to raise a motion asking the government to allow local residents to build a protective sea wall.

'Wildlife haven'

He said: "The Environment Agency and Natural England are preventing the people here from building a sea wall to stop the coastal erosion inwards by 1m a year.

"I am going to ask the secretary of state in my motion to override these agencies and allow the people here to be part of the 'big society' and preserve their community for future generations."

The Environment Agency said it had worked with residents to minimise flood risks.

Jonathan Croft, from the agency, said: "We have been working with the residents of Sunderland Point to improve their level of flood protection.

"In 2008, through Defra's Making Space for Water Strategy pilot project, we worked with Lancaster City Council to provide partial funding for the installation of flood resilience measures for each of the 30 properties at risk of flooding.

"This part of the Lune Estuary is a wildlife and habitat haven. If residents wish to construct a private flood defence we would like to continue working with them to help them comply with environmental legislation to balance the needs of people and the environment."

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