Quantcast

1.2 Million Coastal Homes in England at Risk from Sea Level Rise by 2080

Climate
The number of coastal properties at risk from flooding in England could triple by 2080. Copyright George W Johnson / Moment / Getty Images

"We are not prepared."


That's the major takeaway from a new report by the UK's Committee on Climate Change (CCC) looking at the potential impact of sea level rise on England's coastal homes and infrastructure, as one report author Prof. Jim Hall told The Guardian.

The report, released Thursday, found that a third of current plans to shore up coastlines are not affordable, and that the country has not honestly confronted the level of risk.

"There genuinely will be homes that it will not be possible to save," CCC's adaptation committee chair Baroness Brown told The Guardian. "The current approach is not fit for purpose. This report is really a wake-up call to the fact that we can't protect the whole English coast to today's standard. We could see as much as a meter of sea level rise before the end of the century, so within the lifetime of today's children, and that has a major impact on coastal flooding and erosion."

The management plans currently in place have no funding or enforcement, the report said. Further, plans to protect more than 150 kilometers (approximately 93 miles) of coastline would cost more than the land they would save.

BBC News and The Guardian summarized the report's major findings.

Currently:

  • 520,000 properties, including 370,000 homes, face a 0.5 percent or greater risk from annual coastal flooding.
  • 8,900 properties are at risk from coastal landslides.
  • Around 7,500 kilometers (approximately 4,660 miles) of road, 520 kilometers (approximately 323 miles) of railway, 205,000 hectares (approximately 506,566 acres) of agricultural land and 3,400 hectares (approximately 8,401 acres) of potentially toxic landfill face a 0.1 percent or greater risk of coastal flooding each year.

By 2080:

  • 1.5 million properties, including 1.2 million homes, could be at risk from floods.
  • Another 100,000 properties could be at risk from landslides caused by erosion.
  • About 1,600 kilometers (approximately 994 miles) of major roads, 650 kilometers (approximately 404 miles) of railway, 92 railway stations and 55 historic landfill sites could be at risk from flooding or erosion.

Coastal communities are especially vulnerable because the people who live there tend to be poorer and older than average. The public is also uniformed about the risks of coastal erosion, and there is no insurance for people who lose their homes to coastal landslides, BBC News reported.

"A retired couple could buy, with cash, a house with a fabulous sea view without being given any information about whether it was at risk of erosion," Brown told The Guardian.

The CCC called on the national government to develop strategies and help people relocate if necessary.

The risk to coasts from climate change is made worse by development, The Guardian pointed out.

In England, only 45% of the coastline remains wild. These stretches of hard cliffs, shingle banks and mudflats can respond to rising sea levels in a natural way. But for the 55% that is developed, a choice between building further defences or allowing the sea in has to be made.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A vegan diet can improve your health, but experts say it's important to keep track of nutrients and protein. Getty Images

By Dan Gray

  • Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
  • A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
  • It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.

New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.

Read More Show Less
Students gathered at the National Mall in Washington DC, Sept. 20. NRDC

By Jeff Turrentine

Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
samael334 / iStock / Getty Images

By Ruairi Robertson, PhD

Berries are small, soft, round fruit of various colors — mainly blue, red, or purple.

Read More Show Less
A glacier is seen in the Kenai Mountains on Sept. 6, near Primrose, Alaska. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have been studying the glaciers in the area since 1966 and their studies show that the warming climate has resulted in sustained glacial mass loss as melting outpaced the accumulation of new snow and ice. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Mark Mancini

On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.

Read More Show Less
Members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America table at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18. Alex Schwartz

By Alex Schwartz

Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
StephanieFrey / iStock / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Muffins are a popular, sweet treat.

Read More Show Less
Hackney primary school students went to the Town Hall on May 24 in London after school to protest about the climate emergency. Jenny Matthews / In Pictures / Getty Images

By Caroline Hickman

Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?

Read More Show Less
Myrtle warbler. Gillfoto / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bird watching in the U.S. may be a lot harder than it once was, since bird populations are dropping off in droves, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less