coastal erosion uk

Coastal erosion map shows homes worth £584m will be lost to the sea by 2100

Image credit: Dreamstime

A new map of England’s coastline suggests that £584m worth of residential property will succumb to coastal erosion by 2100.

One Home’s 'England’s Communities Under Threat Interactive Map' is an up-to-date look at the UK’s eroding cliffs and the threat this poses to the most at-risk seaside villages and hamlets.

The map highlights where no new sea defences will be built to defend against erosion, meaning homes will be lost to the sea.

In some cases, homeowners could be asked to pay thousands of pounds towards the cost of demolishing their homes, while potentially still paying a mortgage. Demolition grants of up to £6,000 are available from authorities, but costs above this must be met by the owner.

The map was plotted using existing Environment Agency data and Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs), which outline the risks to an area and whether or not it will be protected from erosion.

The coastal communities identified by One Home that will lose the most homes are in Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, East Yorkshire, Essex, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Northumberland, Norfolk and Sussex.

The most impacted areas will be the villages of Bacton, Walcott and Ostend in North Norfolk, which are estimated to lose over 400 properties by 2100 with estimated damages over £100m.

One Home chief executive Angela Terry said: “Sea levels are rising as global temperatures soar and so larger waves batter our coast during severe storms. These irreversible changes mean some cliff faces are crumbling fast.

“We can’t turn the tide or build a wall around the entire coast, so we urgently need to help seaside communities to prepare for the damage that will come.

“Shoreline Management Plans are publicly available documents but most people are unaware of their existence. Many homeowners don’t know their properties are at risk or that decisions have been made about whether to protect them or not.

“SMPs are not statutory, so new developments can continue. Funding is not guaranteed, so even where communities have been chosen to be ‘saved’ the money might not be there, giving people false hope that their home will be protected long-term.”

One Home said that coastal communities should be made explicitly aware of SMP decisions in their areas and the consequences of them so that residents can plan ahead accordingly.

They also want practical information to be made easily available about the future of homes, infrastructure and businesses as climate change impacts increase.

Finally, it suggests appointing a coastal communities minister that would oversee a coordinated response to the climate change risk on these communities.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We know the devastating impact that flooding and coastal change can have, which is why improving the resilience of people and communities is our top priority. From 2015 to 2021, we invested £1.2bn to better protect around 200,000 homes from coastal erosion and sea flooding.

“However, climate change means that our coast is changing at an accelerated rate, meaning in some places we and coastal authorities will need to help local communities adapt and transition away from the current coastline.”

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles