Some of Sussex coastline to disappear in 20 years

PARTS of the Sussex coastline will disappear within the next 20 years, according to a map produced by the Environment Agency.

The new online map, which is accessible to the public, shows how the coast, including Newhaven, Seaford and Peacehaven, will be affected.

It reveals how the coast is being managed and any defences in place.

Leader of Newhaven Town Council Judith Ost said: “Both coastline erosion and flooding are inevitable as sea levels rise.

“Of the two, the threat to Newhaven is far greater from flooding than from erosion.

“More than 100 homes and many businesses are in the area of high flood risk as is the rail station and the main road. Much of the built up area near the river to the east is below sea level and at risk.

“Protecting Newhaven from flooding is a higher priority than protecting the land between Newhaven and Seaford that might erode.”

For example along some of Newhaven’s shoreline, the sea could reclaim up to 20 metres inland by 2025, according to the study.

The Environment Agency hopes better information on coastal erosion will help communities to make more informed decisions about development and adapting to a changing coastline.

The information for the map was developed with local authorities, the Environment Agency and Government.

It provides the latest erosion information to help plan investment on the coast.

The Sussex map is one of two, developed as part of a pilot project.

The Environment Agency will gather feedback on how it might improve it before publishing maps for the rest of England and Wales in 2012.

Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: “Coastal erosion is a natural process and while we can’t defend every single section of cliff or beach, there are some practical steps that will help people plan ahead and adapt for the future. Making this information available now will help communities and councils decide what action they need to take to adapt to coastal erosion.

“Over the next four years we’ll be spending at least £2.1 billion on tackling erosion and flooding, and we’ve made reforms to give people more say in how this money is spent locally to defend our coastline in the most sensible and robust way.”

The map is available at www.environment-agency.gov.uk