Court of Appeal judges this week reversed an earlier High Court ruling that Natural England had unlawfully allowed the fossil-bearing cliffs to erode naturally for scientific reasons. The defences were built without permission or an environmental impact assessment.
Lord Justice Sullivan commented: "I am not unsympathetic to Boggis's plight. But he is, with respect, aiming at the wrong target, challenging the confirmation of the site of special scientific interest (SSSI). The only lawful course is to apply for planning consent for the sacrificial sea defence."
Peter Scott of Parkinson Wright, Boggis's solicitor, said: "This decision makes it difficult for the EU habitats directive to be enforced in the UK and reconciled with established case law. An appeal to the Supreme Court has been sought. If there is an ambiguity a reference to the European Court of Justice may be necessary."
Natural England regional director Shaun Thomas said: "The SSSI designation does not remove Boggis's right to defend his home. It remains open to him to seek permission through the planning system for the defences."