Coastal homes may have to be abandoned due to coastal erosion, warns the new head of the Environment Agency, Lord Smith of Finsbury.

Evacuation plans may have to be drawn up for large stretches of coastline that are threatened by erosion, he says.

Lord Smith is already studying areas of the south and east coast which are most under threat, but says that tough decisions will have to be made about which areas of coastline to save and which to allow the sea to reclaim.

Lord Smith says: ‘This is the most difficult issue we are going to face as an agency. We know the sea is eating away at the coast in quite a number of places, primarily on the east and south coasts.

‘We are almost certainly not going to be able to defend absolutely every bit of coast – it would be simply and impossible task both in financial and engineering terms.’

Lord Smith,the new head of the Environment Agency, has warned therefore that some coastal homes may simply have to be abandoned due to coastal erosion, saying: ‘We will begin to talk with communities where we think defence is not a viable option’.

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