7,000 Coastal homes to be sacrificed to erosion

An unpublished Environment Agency (EA) report shows that some 7,000 homes and dwellings valued at well over £1bn will be lost due to increasing coastal erosion in England and Wales over the next century under the auspices of the Shoreline Management Plan, with no compensation for homeowners as the government has determined that it has become too costly to protect them. Over 800 of these properties will be lost to the sea within twenty years with no compensation scheme for homeowners to enable them to move to a safer location.

The undisclosed report gives that the majority of the homes to be lost to the sea in the next 20 years will be in Cornwall, with 76 dwellings lost. Cornwall also tops the list for homes lost within 50 years, with 132 victims. In the next 100 years six local authorities are expected to lose more than 200 homes each, with 293 of these in Great Yarmouth, 280 in Southampton, 273 in Cornwall, 237 in North Norfolk, 204 in Yorkshire’s East Riding and 203 in Scarborough.

The EA analysis assumes that funding for the ‘Holding the Line’ and ‘Managed Retreat’ Shoreline Management Plan categories continues. Without this in place, the number of properties lost within 100 years would increase tenfold to over 74,000. And this is based upon current climatic conditions. If as expected the weather condition worsens even with continued coastal defence continuing the figure of 7,000 dwellings due for loss could rise to 9,000.

DEFRA currently claims that there are more than 200 homes at risk of total loss to coastal erosion in the next 20 years, but the newly revealed EA analysis puts this number at 295, and at 430 in the extreme case.

And to this we need to add the cost of loss of much arable farmland and the coastal economy.

The previous government allocated a high flood defence budget, but this was cut by 25% by the incoming coalition government.

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