Nearly 200,000 homes and businesses in England are at risk of being lost to rising sea levels by the 2050s, a new study has warned.
Researchers said the country could face around 14 inches (35cm) of sea level rise compared to historic levels within 30 years and is nearly certain to see close to 3ft (1m) of advancement by the end of the century.
It comes a week after the official in charge of Britain’s flood protection said some of Britain’s seaside towns and villages may have to be abandoned because of rising seas and coastal erosion.
The new study also cautioned that it may not be possible to protect some communities, after examining how advancing seas caused by climate change – combined with erosion of foreshores by waves – are increasing coastal flood risk.
It compared the rising risk of coastal flooding with existing policies for managing the coast.
Rising seas combined with increased wave-driven erosion are raising the risk of coastal flooding, forcing the Government and communities to decide how to respond – mainly whether to hold the line against the sea by building and maintaining defences or realign the shoreline and move properties.
For a thousand miles of English coast (1,600-1,900km), there will be high pressure to rethink the current policy to hold the line as it may become unfeasible due to rising costs, or technically impossible, the study says.