Families thinking of buying property on the East Anglian coast should carefully consider the increasing risk posed by the encroaching North Sea, an expert warned today.
The warning came as fears grew that one of the East Coast’s most popular towns could become an island if sea defences are breached this winter.
Jane Rawson, policy coordinator for flood risk management in the Anglian region for the Environment Agency, said people considering moving to coastal towns or buying second homes should examine the threats posed by coastal erosion as carefully as they checked anything else.
She was speaking as residents in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, were warned that low-lying land around the town could flood if a nearby ageing sea wall crumbles.
“My advice would be if you are looking at buying a house on the coast you should carefully consider the long-term threat posed by coastal erosion,” said Miss Rawson.
“Contact the local authority and consider what information is on offer.
“I would advise looking at the whole picture before buying. We would strongly advise going to your local authority and checking. Coastal erosion is such a serious long-term problem.
“The reality is that you are more likely to be affected by flooding or erosion than you are to find yourself living next door to a neighbour from hell.”
Miss Rawson added that potential home-buyers should be especially careful when looking at properties is more isolated areas.
“The level of defence is different depending on where you are,” she said.
“In Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, for example, the level of defence may be such that it could cope with a one-in-200-year storm. In a smaller village it may be a one-in-75-year storm.
“If, for example, we had storms of the level that East Anglia saw in 1953, if that happened again, there would be flooding.
“The Environment Agency’s main priority is to reduce the risk to life. We cannot defend against everything.