New research reveals a growing erosion problem for Britain's coastline

Britain’s coastline is being attacked by a spiralling erosion problem, the Geographical Journal revealed today. Increased shoreside development has destroyed natural coastal erosion defences, driving the high and low water marks closer together. Coastlines are becoming steeper, increasing erosion and destroying the habitats of several species, including wading birds.

The erosion, which is worst on the south coast, is reducing beach widths and increasing water depths in front of current sea defences. Waves are hitting the defences with more power than they were originally designed to handle, resulting in structural damage. Dr. Nigel Pontee, one of the authors of the new research, suggests that shoreside infrastructures such as seawalls and promenades are preventing the natural inland movement of beaches and mudflats.

Dr. Pontee explained: ‘These results have considerable implications for deciding on future coastal management options not only around the UK, but potentially the rest of the world. If we are not to spend increasingly large amounts of money on sea defences, we need to allow room for coastlines to function as nature intended them to.’