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.
Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

jenifoto / iStock / Getty Images

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Many people consider granola bars a convenient and healthy snack and enjoy their flavor and versatility.

Read More Show Less
A common green darners (Anax junius). Judy Gallagher / Flickr

By Jason Bittel

It's that time of year again: Right now, monarch butterflies are taking wing in the mountains of northwestern Mexico and starting to flap their way across the United States.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
fstop123 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.

To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.

Read More Show Less
JPM / Getty Images

Gluten is the collective name for a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley and rye.

Read More Show Less
Denali national park. Domen Jakus / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Stephanie Gagnon

Happy National Parks Week! This year, between April 20 and 28, escape to the beautiful national parks — either in person or in your imagination — and celebrate the amazing wildlife that calls these spaces home.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Sesame, three months old, at Seal Rescue Irleand. Screenshot / Seal Rescue Ireland Instagram

On Friday, Seal Rescue Ireland released Sesame the seal into the ocean after five months of rehabilitation at the Seal Rescue Ireland facility. Watch the release on EcoWatch's Facebook.

Read More Show Less
Beer packs of Guinness will now come in a cardboard box. Diageo

By Jordan Davidson

Guinness is joining the fight against single use plastic. The brewer has seen enough hapless turtles and marine life suffering from the scourge of plastic.

Read More Show Less
Maskot / Getty Images

People of all ages are spending more of their day looking at their phones, computers and television screens, but parents now have another reason for limiting how much screen time their children get — it could lead to behavioral problems.

Read More Show Less