Experts fear areas will be wiped off map as cliffs erode

The country is in the midst of yet another heatwave with temperatures set to hit the mid 30s this week as concerns surrounding global warming continue to grow. The fears have been heightened as large parts of the Jurassic coastline in Devon have plunged into the sea.

Alex Whilding www.devonlive.com 

It is likely that the warm weather is making the cliff fall and as a result cracks will form and then widen in the rocks. On Monday (August 8), walkers along the Sidmouth coastline watched in horror as part of the coastline hit the beach.

Witnesses in the area have said that several hours later, parts of the cliff were still falling into the sea. It was only last month that two more dramatic collapses took place at the same spot as the country basked in record breaking temperatures, reports The Mirror.

Experts say global warming is causing sea levels to rise and that is eroding a lot of the Jurassic coastline in Dorset. The coastline suffered its biggest rock fall in over 60 years in 2021.

Back then, around 300 metres of the cliff face was impacted when 4,000 tonnes came away and fell towards the beach in chunks with some of them the size of a car. This ongoing issue could see some homes completely wiped away.

Angela Terry, an environmental scientist and founder of One Home, warned: “Coastal communities are on the front line of climate change with little support available for those who face losing their homes or livelihoods. As we overheat, ice is melting faster and as a consequence sea levels are increasing by up to 5mm a year.

“More concerning is this rate continues to increase and we can not hold back the tide. Along with stronger winds, super storms are regularly battering British cliffs which are then falling into the sea as a result.

“With Europe’s longest coastline, we urgently need to start talking about how we will drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions and aid communities to transition to safer areas before their homes literally hang over a cliff edge.”

East Beach in Sidmouth where there was a dramatic cliff fall on Monday

East Beach in Sidmouth where there was a dramatic cliff fall on Monday (Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

In its latest report, the Environment Agency has warned that by 2050 around 200,000 properties could be swallowed by floodwater or even plunge over a cliff.

Meanwhile, a study conducted by the Ocean and Coastal Management has found that a third of the country’s coastline will be under pressure as a result of the change in the sea levels. Paul Griew, who lives on Cliff Road in Sidmouth, lost his summerhouse back in 2017.

Paul was about to collect something from the summerhouse when it collapsed into the sea. Paul’s neighbour has lived in their house for 25 year and claimed that he lost 20 metres of his garden.

He added that he knew the cliffs were eroding when he moved in with his wife, but he said “it’s happening faster than I thought”. He added that the offshore sea defence islands for Sidmouth were causing the erosion at first, but the sea getting warmer and the rising sea levels are speeding up the process.

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