Climate Action

New report finds UK coastal homes could be lost to rising sea levels

A new report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has found that rising sea levels could claim UK coastal homes.

  • 26 October 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

A new report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has found that rising sea levels could claim UK coastal homes.

The report finds that coastal communities and infrastructure and landscapes in England are already under significant pressure from flooding and erosion, these threats will increase in the future.

Climate change is causing sea waters to expand and is melting glaciers. The report finds that there will “almost certainly” be a 1 metre rise in sea level at some point in the future.

8,900 properties are presently at risk from coastal erosion, but the report finds that 100,000 properties will be at risk of falling into the sea by the 2080s.

The report also notes that today, 370,000 homes in England are at risk of damage from coastal flooding. This is expected to rise to 1.2 million homes by the 2080s.

The UK has had previous coastal flooding events, notably the 1953 storm surge which claimed the lives of 307 people in England. At present, damages from coastal erosion and flooding cost the UK, on average, £260 million each year.

The CCC have called on the Government to enforce a more appropriate and efficient management of coastal erosion and flooding. They recommend the Government make long-term funding and investment available to protect coastal cities and infrastructure.

They also recommend the local Government and the Environment Agency work with affected communities to develop a realistic long-term approach to coastal management.

Professor Jim Hall, the CCC Adaptation Committee’s expert on flooding and coastal erosion, said: “As the climate changes the current approach to protecting the English coastline is not fit for purpose. It’s time people woke up to the very real challenges ahead. Climate change is not going away: action is needed now to improve the way England’s coasts are managed today and in the future, to reduce the polluting emissions which cause climate change, and to prepare seaside communities for the realities of a warming world.”

A government spokeswoman responded to this report, she said: ““The Environment Secretary has been very clear - we will take the action required to ensure our country is resilient and prepared for the challenges the changing climate brings. The government has already committed £1.2 billion of investment in coastal erosion and sea flooding projects over the next six years to better protect 170,000 homes.”