Increased vulnerability in the future

Unfortunately, despite increasing understanding of coastal management techniques, the threats of extreme weather and sea level rise, combined with increases in population, especially at the coast, means that more and more people will become vulnerable in the future.

The future threats of sea level rise

Due to global warming and the evidence presented, sea levels are set to rise by between 30 cm and 2 metres by 2100. While no one can say exactly what will happen, it is widely accepted that coastal communities are set to face major challenges in the future. Planning for these future scenarios is vital to enable people to reduce the risks and continue to enjoy living in and visiting coastal areas.

Planning involves several strategies including:

  • managed coastal realignment, similar to what is happening in Medmerry
  • innovations in house building and infrastructure, such as the proposed floating city for the Thames Gateway
  • innovative sea defences, such as those at Cleveleys in Lancashire

How will climate change affect the UK?

As sea levels rise, so too will coastal erosion. In southern counties of England, where the majority of people live, the threats are greatest. This is because much of the land is low lying, but also because a warmer climate also brings more extreme weather and storms.

A map of projected flooded coastal areas due to a 30 cm sea level increase.The red areas are the lowest lying coastal areas in the UK which would be flooded by a sea level rise of 30 cm by 2100. Notice how large areas of eastern England are most severely affected.
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