WEST Somerset's MP has said the damage caused to the local coastline during recent storms should be regarded as clear and compelling evidence of the long-term threat we now face as a result of more violent weather.

MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said the most dramatic effects locally have been at Watchet, where work now needs to start urgently to prevent a catastrophic collapse of part of the harbour.

He said he would support Somerset West and Taunton Council in appealing for emergency Government funding.

Part of the wall collapsed in December and was subject to emergency repair work over the festive period and start of the new year.

However this week the stormy weather has seen strong waves battering the wall and the temporary defences have once again been breached and left significant damage.

Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said: "I have offered to support Somerset West and Taunton Council in any way I can in appealing for emergency Government funding for the job, the bill for which is certain to run into the millions.

"It is a crucial issue: failure to act quickly enough to rebuild the wall could lead to the marina and the town centre itself being exposed to the full force of future storms.

"And here we need to get one thing absolutely clear. Whatever the climate change deniers may say we have now arrived at the point climatologists forecast several decades ago we should reach, with violent winter storms becoming the norm rather than the exception."

Mr Liddell-Grainger said coastal communities from Steart to Porlock Weir are now very much in the front line, particularly in locations where there are no hard coastal defences.

"This situation is one the Government must now start to take seriously," Mr Liddell-Grainger said.

"We cannot continue to let the sea nibble away piecemeal at our coastline and at homes and other properties when the means and the expertise exist to protect them.

"Clearly there will be some tough decisions to be made.

"But where homes, businesses, commerce and local economies are concerned we cannot, must not simply shrug, throw in the towel and conclude there is nothing we can do to combat the increasingly violent forces of nature.

"There is plenty we can do. And since the threats are far more likely to increase rather than diminish the Government must treat the situation with the utmost urgency."