These are the Sussex towns at risk from rising sea levels

Some coastal towns in Sussex may have to be abandoned because of rising seas and coastal erosion, according to a new report.

A study published in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management said nationally nearly 200,000 properties in England may have to be abandoned due to rising sea levels by 2050.

The research explores where water will cause most damage and whether defences are technically and financially feasible.

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Speaking to the BBC, Paul Sayers, the report’s author, who is an expert on flood and coastal risks, said: “It just won't be possible to hold the line all around the coast.

File: Camber Sands April 2021.

"These are the places we are going to hold, and these are the places we're not going to hold, so we need that honest debate around how we're going to do that and support communities where they are affected."

Figures based on data collected by the Environmental Agency's National Coastal Erosion Risk Mapping project, show that Camber, Pevensey Bay, Shoreham and Bognor Regis are likely to suffer the most coastal erosion over the next 20 years.

Last week, the Environment Agency (EA) launched a roadmap setting out actions to be taken over the next four years to tackle the growing threat of flooding from rivers, the sea, and surface water as well as coastal erosion.

The roadmap was launched by Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan and Floods Minister Rebecca Pow.

Shoreham Beach, first day after lockdown. Pic Steve Robards SR2005134

The EA said actions in the roadmap include ensuring new homes will be safe from flooding, maximising the use of nature to enhance flood and coastal resilience while aiding nature recovery, and improving the flood resilience of roads, railways, and other national infrastructure.

Sir James Bevan said: "Climate change is happening now, and its impacts will continue to worsen.

"Rainfall patterns are changing, causing more frequent flooding, and while we continue to protect and prepare coastal communities from rising sea levels, it is inevitable that at some point some of our communities will have to move back from the coast.

"We all need to adapt and become more resilient to these challenges, and this roadmap sets out actions that will be taken to do this over the next four years.”