National Trust’s Shifting Shores and the Humber Region

Today the National Trust released their report – “Shifting Shores : Playing our part at the coast” – you can read the BBC’s coverage of it here. The main message from the report is stark – the UK is ignoring the risk of coastal erosion and flooding, and the threat of rising sea levels. They also advocate for increased investment in soft, or natural, coastal defences, and highlight successful schemes.

For the Holderness Coast this is particularly acute, with it often claimed to be “Europe’s fastest eroding coastline”. Whether enough is being done to protect it is a matter of opinion – to protect the whole length from any erosion just isn’t practical, but this is little comfort to those who live in view of the North Sea. With this area beyond the realms of my previous study, I am unsure of the plans and policies in place to address future coastal erosion and flooding along this stretch of coast.

South of Withernsea

End of hard defences on the Holderness Coast and the erosion beyond

Further down, the breach in Spurn Point is a sharp reminder of just what the sea can do to hard defences we have put in place. Some would argue that the natural environment is being restored here by the sea, but the long-term impact of leaving Spurn to its fate is simply not known – it isn’t, however, being ignored.

In the Humber Estuary itself, probably beyond the intended scope of the National Trust report, the risk of coastal flooding became all too apparent on December 5th 2013. Before then the Humber Flood Risk Management Strategy had already been put in place by the Environment Agency, and work is under way to review this based on the lessons learnt on that night. This plan details the steps to be taken to ensure the Humber’s defences are improved and keep pace with raising sea levels, and rightly involves a sensible mix of soft and hard defences.

If you want to learn more about flood risk and sea level rise in the Humber Estuary, try Humber in a Box here.

To learn more about your flood risk and to sign up for flood warnings, visit the #FloodAware website, here.

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