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National Trust sounds the alarm over coastal development

Published: Thursday, 19th November 2015

Over the last decade 12,500 new homes and businesses have been built in coastal areas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which are at risk of significant erosion or flooding.

A report compiled for conservation charity National Trust (NT) has urged greater action from the Government and environmental agencies to make sure all coastal areas are ready for the challenges presented by more frequent sever storm and rising sea-levels. The NT pointed out that coastal development had gone ahead despite strong official advice to the contrary.

The report also highlighted that only one in three coastal planning authorities in England have up-to-date planning policies in place to deal with the impact of climate change caused by global warming.

The Trust has argued for what it called a bolder and more imaginative approach to coastal management, one that relied more on understanding how nature works and is based on adaptation rather than engineered defences.

The report said this would mean an end to the ineffective cycle of continually rebuilding concrete sea defences and instead relocating buildings, infrastructure and habitats to safe areas further inland.

Phil Dyke, Coastal Marine Adviser at the charity, said: “We need to actively transition from maintaining old defences to working with natural processes, where and when it’s appropriate, to conserve the beauty and wildlife of our coastline.”

View the press release

Roger Milne