Opinion: Methods for protecting England's coastal communities 'not fit for purpose'

phys.org | 11/8/2018 | Staff
jenn1020 (Posted by) Level 3
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In October 2018, a stark report suggested that current methods being used to protect England's coastal communities are 'not fit for purpose'.

The Committee on Climate Change's Managing the coast in a changing climate report showed that between 2005 and 2014, over 15,000 new buildings were built in coastal areas at significant risk of coastal flooding and/or erosion.

Government - Housing - Targets - Homes - Years

However, if the government meets its ambitious housing targets, up to 90,000 homes built in the next five years might be in areas of significant annual flood risk from all sources of flooding, including coastal flooding.

Practically every winter we are reminded of how dynamic our coastline is. And many of us see at very close quarters how vulnerable many communities in the UK are to coastal flooding and erosion.

Time - Summer - Arrives - Need - Debate

But by the time summer arrives, the need for a wide and deep debate as to how we deal with rising sea levels and potential future increases in maritime storminess around the UK coastline evaporates.

Our approach to coastal management issues is to react to failures of coastal defences, either natural or man-made, rather than proactively working towards future-proofing our coastline.

UK - Coastline - Dominance - Cliff - Scenery

Much of the UK coastline is already eroding, as testified by the dominance of coastal cliff scenery. But coastal erosion and flooding, and consequent damage to infrastructure, disruption of services and modifications to the coastal landscape will become more common over the next century due to climate change.

Specifically, rising sea levels will increase the probability of extreme coastal water levels and this could be exacerbated by potentially larger and more frequent extreme waves due to changes to the wave climate.

Time - Zone - Clifftop - Properties - Development

At the same time, our coastal zone is far from natural, with numerous clifftop properties and extensive development at the back of beaches, on top of dunes and in low-lying coastal valleys. It is obvious that coastal communities...
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