Up to 200,000 English properties are at risk of sea level rise from the 2050s shows a study published by Paul Sayers an Affiliate of the Tyndall Centre UEA. The story was also covered in the Guardian and the BBC.

The estimate is according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Oceans and Coastal Management, led by Paul Sayers, an expert on flood and coastal risks who works with the Tyndall Centre at University of East Anglia and advises the Climate Change Committee.

Mean sea levels around England will be around 35cm higher by 2050 than their historical level and will continue to rise as increasing global temperatures, due to greenhouse gas emissions, melts glaciers and ice caps and causes ocean waters to expand as they warm.

In addition, foreshores are at risk of being eroded, which can further deepen the water at the coast leading to larger waves reaching the shore. The combination of sea-level rise and larger waves will greatly increase the number of properties at risk of flooding.

Investment in improved sea walls and other defences will protect many of the properties at risk, but this will not be affordable or possible everywhere. For the first time, the new study calculates how many English properties will be threatened with coastal flooding but where the costs of improving defences may be too high or technically impossible for the government to continue to protect communities (given current funding regimes).

The researchers found that, by the 2050s, 120,000-160,000 properties along the English coast are at risk of relocation due to sea level rise, in addition to 30-35,000 properties that had already been identified as at risk from sea level rise.

This means the number of properties at risk is five times higher than suggested within current shoreline planning documents, and many communities that face an uncertain future haven’t yet been identified.

More can be read here from the Tyndall Centre.

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