Rising sea levels will erode coastal Trust

Hundreds of kilometres of Britain's coastline could erode by over 100 metres as a result of rising sea levels induced by global warming, the National Trust has warned.

Already, 126 National Trust coastal sites, covering over 4,000 hectares are at risk. With sea level rises of up to 0.86 metres predicted over the next 75 years, the Trust forecasts that 608 km of its coastal holdings will be affected by erosion over the next century and nearly 15% of its coastal landholdings could erode by over 100 metres.

Tony Burton, Director of Policy and Strategy at the Trust said that extensive coastal change from sea level rises and more frequent storms appeared inevitable.

“As the UK’s largest owner of coastal land, the National Trust is at the forefront of the debate about how to deal with the impacts of sea level rise. The scale of the impacts we are facing will be mirrored across much of the UK’s coast.”

He said that the Trust land acted as a barometer of wider coastal change and called for coherent, long-term plans to address the massive impacts of the problem.

The Trust owns over 1,130 km of coastal land – nearly 10% of the total coast line of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Roughly 60% of this is now under threat.

Now, the heritage group has published a wake-up call, Shifting Shores, to encourage recognition of the problem and to call for proper long-term planning policies to be implemented to address the issue.

“Our changing coastline demonstrates that the impacts of climate change are being felt today and are close to home. This should strengthen the call for action to cut greenhouse gas emissions,” Burton added. “But, we also need to adapt to the changes underway, working with the forces of nature wherever possible, to secure a better long term future for coastal communities and the environment.”

David Hopkins

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