Some of the UK’s coastal communities will be forced to relocate as flooding increases in the coming years, the Environment Agency has warned.
EA chief James Bevan has said rising sea levels were now “inevitable”, with no way to recover land that will be lost to coastal erosion or swallowed by the sea as climate change accelerates.
“Let me come now to the hardest of all inconvenient truths, which is this: in the long term, climate change means that some of our communities cannot stay where they are,” Bevan will tell a conference in Telford today.
In a prepared speech released before the event, he will outline the actions the EA will take in the coming years to protect communities from the impacts of flooding, erosion and rising sea levels. This includes a new national assessment of flood risk and long-term investment scenarios.
According to the EA, around 5.2 million homes in the UK are currently at risk of flooding, with thousands of homes built on flood plains every year despite the long-term risks.
If current planning outcomes continue, the EA projects that the number of homes at risk of flooding could double in the next 50 years.