Map shows where 200,000 houses in England could be under water by 2050

Map shows where nearly 200,000 homes and businesses could be flooded in England in the 2050s Metro Graphics

Map shows areas most at risk from sea level rise (Image:

Nearly 200,000 homes and businesses in England are at risk of being lost at sea by 2050, a study warns.

Scientists believe it may not be possible to protect some coastal areas if sea levels are projected to rise by 35 cm over the next three decades.

Experts are now calling for action against flooding after their research also found that levels will rise by almost 1m by the end of the century.

The current policy of holding the line against wave erosion may soon become impossible or impracticable as costs mount across the thousand miles of English coastline.

That could affect around 120,000 to 160,000 properties — excluding caravans — by the 2050s, many of which will likely need to be relocated.

That figure doesn’t include those cliff homes already at risk, or the 30,000 to 35,000 properties in areas that have shoreline realignment policies.

Those most at risk are individual communities with scattered clusters of houses and buildings in a long floodplain such as the Somerset Levels.

Cornwall’s small quayside and coastal port communities will also be on high alert, as will areas with a close margin between the shoreline and the rising terrain.

Which areas are most at risk?

North Somerset
Wyre in Lancashire
Medway in Kent
Swale in Kent
Tender in Essex
Maldon in Essex
Suffolk coast
North Norfolk
sedge bog
North Somerset
sedge bog
Northeast Lincolnshire
Warrington Swale
Bristol city
East Devon
East Lindsey
East Suffolk
West Lancashire


Thousands of homes in the Northwest may need to be relocated if sea levels continue to rise (Image: Oceans and Coastal Management)


East Lindsey is on high alert (Image: Oceans and Coastal Management)


All of Cornwall and parts of Somerset and Devon are at risk (Image: Oceans and Coastal Management)


North East Lincolnshire could be devastated by flooding over the next three decades (Image: Oceans and Coastal Management)


Coastal areas in Hampshire, Sussex and Kent will be under water by 2050 (Image: Oceans and Coastal Management)


Several areas of Essex and Suffolk are also at risk (Image: Oceans and Coastal Management)

Lead author Paul Sayers, engineering consultant at the University of East Anglia, said: “Significant sea level rise is now inevitable.

“Protection will continue to be in place for many of our larger coastal cities, but for some coastal communities it may not be possible.

“We need a serious national debate about the extent of the threat to these communities and what constitutes a fair and sustainable response, including how to help people relocate.”

In response to the study, Professor Jim Hall of the University of Oxford said: “We need to have honest conversations with coastal communities that it simply will not be possible to protect every home and business from sea level rise.

“These changes are coming sooner than we might think and we need to plan now how to adapt, including a nationwide strategic approach to deciding how to sustainably manage the coast going forward.”

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Justin Scacco

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