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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Top town hall chief in talks on tackling Walney island’s erosion

A CRISIS meeting is set to take place tomorrow in a bid to take stock of erosion issues that could cut an island in two.

Experts fear erosion could split Walney in two, or even three, if it continues at its current rate at vulnerable spots including Earnse Bay.

Calls have been made by the town’s MP, John Woodcock, for the government to take action to help hold back the tide.

Now Phil Huck, executive director of Barrow Borough Council, and a team of officers will join councillors at South Walney to see what can be done.

During the worst of last winter's heavy rain, big tides and storm-force winds, flooding was widespread across Furness. But residents claim few places were as badly-hit as the low-lying farmland that comprise the far south of Walney.

South Walney Labour councillor Frank Cassidy said: “This is the first time – as far as I know – that any of us have tried to stop an island from splitting into two, so it is a bit of a learning curve.

“We are grateful to Phil Huck for agreeing to meet councillors and residents on a site visit on Tuesday so he can see for himself the damage that the erosion is causing.

“Simon Mulgrew has a plan that would involve raising a narrow road that becomes flooded by high tides. It would also act as a bulwark against the encroaching sea on the western side.

“His idea has the support of other residents and businesses at the south end and we will be discussing that with Phil Huck. “South Walney is an important part of the borough. Government cuts mean money is scarce, but we owe it to everyone who doesn’t want to see the island cut in two – and to future generations – to do everything we can.”

Mr Woodcock previously said: “We have been involved in a long struggle to get adequate protection against coastal erosion which is threatening many homes at Earnse Bay.

“If we don't act, experts warn Walney could be split into two or three islands within 20 or 30 years.”

Mr Huck was unavailable for comment when the Evening Mail went to print.

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