English coastline flood risk from waves reassessed

Plymouth Hoe Image copyright Hannah Gow
Image caption Plymouth Hoe which is officially categorised as low risk was hit by huge waves last winter

The Environment Agency is reviewing the flood risk around the English coastline from high waves.

It says some of its existing maps may underestimate the risks to coastal communities.

It is updating its National Flood Risk Assessment which informs members of the public and local authorities about the likelihood of flooding.

The Environment Agency grades coastal areas at risk of flooding from very low to high.

Image caption Train services were massively disrupted by storms last winter

Environment Agency flood risks:

High: Greater than one in 30 chance in any given year

Medium: One in 30 to one in 200 chance in any given year

Low: One in 200 to one in 1000 chance in any given year

Very low: Less than one in 1,000 chance in any given year

Last winter massive storms hit the South West coast with waves up to 15m (50ft) high, destroying part of the main railway line out of the region at Dawlish.

Marcus Salmon, planning liaison technical specialist with the agency, said: "The storms have definitely reflected areas where our maps are not as representative as they can be.

"That is something that we are working to address as quickly as possible.

"Last winter's storms showed the susceptibility of our coastal communities and infrastructure to flooding and erosion.

"The challenges presented by flooding and coastal erosion are expected to become more acute as a result of climate change, due to a combination of sea level rise, increased storminess and increased wave heights.

"So as to better understand the risks we are updating the National Flood Risk Assessment to take account of wave, wind and storm surge which are underrepresented in our current mapping."

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