A report from the peer reviewed journal of Ocean and Coastal Management has highlighted that about a third of England’s coast will be put under pressure by sea level rise, sparking concerns over levels flooding not seen in the region since 1953.
Norfolk and Suffolk are high-risk areas
The level of impact varies dramatically in terms of the amount that global temperatures increase over time, and how much development is allowed to take place in flood risk areas. The journal has found that a 2 degree Celsius increase will increase the risk of flooding in a number of Norfolk and Suffolk local authority areas, with hundreds, if not thousands, of additional properties placed at risk in each authority.
The report’s author, Paul Sayers, an expert on flood and coastal risks, was quoted by the BBC saying: “It just won’t be possible to hold the line all around the coast.”
“These are places we are going to hold, and these are the places we’re not going to hold, so we need that honest debate around how we’re going to do that and support communities where they are affected.”
Impact on communities and businesses
The report indicates that a number of areas in England, including East Anglia, are among parts of England with the highest number of properties at risk of flooding. Raised sea levels not only increase the risk of flooding on the coast and in estuaries but also accelerate coastal erosion through larger, more powerful waves.
The increased flood risk will have an impact on communities and businesses alike. The startling report follows comments made last week by the head of the Environment Agency, Sir James Bevan, that many homes would be impossible or uneconomic to save, and whole communities would have to move inland, which he called “the hardest of all inconvenient truths”.
Researchers said the country could face around 35cm of sea level rise compared to historic levels within 30 years, and is nearly certain to see close to 1m of advancement by the end of the century. The report also indicates that, with that 2 degree increase, by 2080 large amounts of the East Anglian coastline will be vulnerable.