21 English communities and £584m worth of homes lost to collapsing cliffs by 2100

30 Jan 2023
11 min read
Hunstanton cliffs and house as seen from the sea

A new map of England’s coastline reveals the 21 villages and hamlets that will lose £584 million worth of residential property to coastal erosion by 2100.

One Home’s England’s Communities Under Threat Interactive Map is the most accurate and up-to-date look at the state of our disappearing cliffs and the threat coastal erosion poses to our most at-risk seaside villages and hamlets.

It illustrates where no new sea defences will be built to defend against erosion, meaning homes will be lost to the sea.

In some cases homeowners could be asked to pay thousands of pounds towards the cost of demolishing their homes, while potentially still paying a mortgage. Demolition grants of up to £6,000 are available from authorities, but costs above this must be met by the owner.

The map was plotted using existing Environment Agency data and Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs), which outline the risks to an area and whether it will be protected from erosion or not. The coastal communities identified by One Home that will lose the most homes are in Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, East Yorkshire, Essex, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Northumberland, Norfolk and Sussex.

One Home Chief Executive Angela Terry says: “Sea levels are rising as global temperatures soar and so larger waves batter our coast during severe storms. These irreversible changes mean some cliff faces are crumbling fast.

“We can’t turn the tide or build a wall around the entire coast so we urgently need to help seaside communities to prepare for the damage that will come.

“Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) are publicly available documents but most people are unaware of their existence. Many homeowners don’t know their properties are at risk or that decisions have been made about whether to protect them or not.

“SMPs are not statutory, so new developments can continue. Funding is not guaranteed so even where communities have been chosen to be ‘saved’ the money might not be there, giving people false hope that their home will be protected long-term.

“One Home’s aim with this map is to explain SMPs in an easy-to-digest way so that homeowners are sufficiently informed to make timely decisions about their properties to reduce future harm. Currently, for those homes at risk, there is no compensation scheme available. Owners might be asked to pay to demolish their homes while still paying their mortgage.”

CountyCoastline location; SMP start and endSMP Policy (Short, Medium, Long term)Est. property losses by 2100Est. property damages by 2100
North NorfolkBacton, Walcott, Ostend; Kelling Hard to LowestoftHTL, MR, MR412£108,793,544
ER of YorkshireHollym to Dimlington Cliffs; Flamborough Head to Gibraltar PointNAI,NAI,NAI306£68,085,000
North NorfolkMundesley; Kelling Hard to LowestoftHTL, HTL, MR267£88,925,952
ER of YorkshireRolston to Waxholme; Flamborough Head to Gibraltar PointNAI, NAI, NAI (HTL at Mappleton)188£13,391,240
North NorfolkOverstrand; Kelling Hard to LowestoftHTL, MR, MR139£58,305,218
North NorfolkHemsby; Kelling Hard to LowestoftMR, MR, MR135£39,124,350
North NorfolkTrimingham; Kelling Hard to LowestoftMR, NAI, NAI120£32,401,080
EssexPoint Clear (Colne Estuary); Felixstowe to Two Tree IslandNAI, NAI, NAI117£44,070,039
ER of YorkshireWilsthorpe to Atwick; Flamborough Head to Gibraltar PointNAI, NAI, NAI93£6,946,170
KentMinster Slopes to Warden Point (Isle of Sheppey);  Isle of Grain to South ForelandNAI, NAI, NAI87£24,696,777
ER of YorkshireEasington to Kilnsea; Flamborough Head to Gibraltar PointNAI, NAI, NAI (HTL at Kilnsea)61£4,748,118
East SussexFairlight Cove East and West, and Cliff End; South Foreland to Beachy HeadNAI at FC West and Cliff End, MR at FC East43£26,348,895
CornwallDownderry; Rame Head to Hartland PointNAI, NAI, NAI38£18,570,258
DorsetDurlston Bay; Hurst Spit to Durlston HeadMR, MR NAI37£9,065,000
Isle of WightColwell Bay; Isle of WightNAI, NAI, NAI36£4,365,000
Isle of WightThorness Bay to Gurnard Bay; Isle of WightNAI, NAI, NAI33£9,614,319
CornwallMarazion East and Perranuthnoe; Rame Head to Hartland PointNAI, NAI, NAI28£9,035,600
Isle of WightQuarr and Binstead; Isle of WightNAI, NAI, NAI23£7,582,134
NorthumberlandChuck Bank; Scottish Border to the TyneMR, MR, NAI20£4,091,160
CumbriaCoulderton, Nethertown, Braystones; Great Ormes Head to ScotlandMR, NAI, NAI18£996,966
North NorfolkHappisburgh; Kelling Hard to LowestoftMR, MR, MR17£4,813,380
Abbreviations: No Active Intervention (NAI), Managed Realignment (MR), Hold the Line (HTL)2218£583,970,200


  • Coastal communities be made explicitly aware of SMP decisions in their areas and the consequences of them.
  • Shoreline Management Plans made statutory rather than advisory.
  • Practical information made easily available about the future of homes, infrastructure and businesses as climate change impacts increase and where to go for support.
  • Financial assistance given to those who need to move home and the knowledge of how that funding will be provided.
  • Appointment of a coastal communities minister to enable a coordinated response to the risk climate change brings.


IAN BRENNAN is Chair of the charity Save Hemsby Coastline. Ian, 63, a retired telecomms manager who lives in Hemsby, Norfolk, has campaigned for 10 years for better sea defences for the village, where almost 135 properties are at risk of loss by 2100. He says:

“This is an essential piece of work, as it shows we are facing a problem across the country, which requires an urgent, nation-wide response.

“The government needs to put in place a proper strategy to support coastal communities. Without any sea defences, 91 homes will be lost in Hemsby in the next 25 years, with more to come by the end of the century. Many homeowners didn’t know this when they bought their property.

“People here are very nervous. Every time there is a storm those who live within sight and sound of the sea fear it will be the one which means they lose their home. It takes a huge toll on their mental health.

“We’ve been campaigning on this for 10 years and it’s been very hard to get the agencies who have the powers to take action to listen.

“Climate change is causing havoc for coastal communities like ours but no one has a real plan or idea about how to deal with it.”

TV PRODUCER Lucy Ansbro, 54, from Thorpeness, Suffolk, has spent £500,000 protecting her seaside home from erosion. In October 2022 she watched her neighbour’s mansion, once worth £2 million, being demolished because rapidly receding cliffs had made it unsafe.

Lucy says: “Owners need to know how quickly change can happen if you live on vulnerable parts of the coast.

“Surveys and solicitors’ checks don’t include erosion but I was aware there was a threat of erosion when I bought this house in 2009. However, I never dreamed it would be this severe. No research I did suggested it would ever happen this quickly. The worst case scenario predicted losing five meters to the sea within 50 years, but in fact, I lost five metres in 2020 alone.

“The One Home map is really welcome because residents are lacking information. We need well-publicised facts and data from councils and the government to understand the scale of the challenge we are facing, and how to address it.

“Houses behind mine, less than 50m from the clifftop, have recently sold for close to £1million. Nobody is taking this seriously or accepting that communities are at serious risk.”


For further information, to embed the map online, or to interview environmental scientist and founder of One Home, Angela Terry, please contact:




One Home helps UK households to adapt to a low cost, low carbon lifestyle. One Home provides information and advice on positive, practical solutions that improve people’s lives while saving money and reducing carbon emissions.

As we increasingly feel the impact of climate change in the UK, One Home also helps people to prepare for the changes and uncertainty ahead.

As a not-for-profit social enterprise, we put people and planet first. We pride ourselves on providing accurate, independent and impartial advice people can trust.


Shoreline Management Plans are compiled by the Environment Agency, local authorities and key stakeholders.

They are publicly-available, non-statutory technical documents that provide a large-scale assessment of the risks (to people, property, the natural and historic environment) associated with coastal erosion and flooding at the coast over the long-term. They propose policies to help manage these risks sustainably over the next hundred years.

Because they are advisory rather than legal, new developments can be built in unsuitable areas and funding is not always assigned for sea defences.

Not all of the plans have a summary document so it can be hard for people to understand designations.

More than a third of our coastline already has a designation of no intervention.

They are designed to assist coastal flood and erosion risk management planning.

SMPs designate one of three protection levels to each area: 

  1. Hold the line – defences will be maintained and upgraded IF funding is found. The number of these is decreasing because worsening climate impacts means they are not cost beneficial.
  2. Managed realignment – involves moving or allowing the shoreline to retreat in a managed way.
  3. No active intervention – nothing will be done. This policy applies to over a third of the English coast.


One Home’s English Communities at Risk map identifies and plots the 2100 erosion extent for 21 at-risk locations. Researchers combined SMP information with property impact. This is the best-case scenario – SMPs are not statutory so funding and implementation are not guaranteed.

The map has been developed using ArcGIS Online mapping software. For each erosion hotspot it shows the scientific projection for how much of the coast may be lost by 2100 assuming all planned shoreline management policies are delivered.

We used a 5% confidence level (i.e. the maximum erosion might reach by 2100 beyond which there is less than a 5% chance of the coast being eroded further inland). That is the methodology used by the Climate Change Committee. Erosion data is currently being updated to reflect the latest climate projections (NCERM 2).

We chose to focus on the most at-risk areas of the coastline in terms of residential properties, and of those, communities with more than ten houses at risk.

There are other areas that are experiencing erosion that currently have hold-the-line designation in their Shoreline Management Plans but not necessarily the funding to support that.

According to the 2018 Climate Change Committee coastal report, implementing all SMPs would cost between £18 and £30 billion depending on the rate of climate change. 149km to 185km of England’s coastline will not be cost beneficial to adapt as currently planned.

Property prices have been taken from average local property values, either from local authority averages (Autumn 2022) or more location-specific figures from Right Move (December 2022).

(The data and associated information is intended for guidance – it cannot provide details for individual properties).

One Home has created an online map so people can find the SMP policy allocated for their area and to highlight the communities on the English coastline that are most at risk from coastal erosion by 2100.

This map is intended for guidance and discussion purposes only. The data is estimates and cannot show the absolute location of the future coastline. Property loss estimations cannot be relied upon at the localised scale and should therefore not be used to support local policy decisions. However, the map and data are useful for guidance, general interest and national-scale discussions.

We concentrated on coastal erosion rather than flooding, to find out more about flooding go to the section on our website: https://onehome.org.uk/topics/adapt-to-climate-change/flooding/ditch-the-sandbags-expert-tips-on-how-to-protect-your-home-and-business-from-flooding-in-a-wetter-winter/ 


We plotted the 2100 erosion extents for the 21 locations using the Environment Agency’s NCERM dataset at 5% confidence and assuming shoreline management plans will be delivered.

We identified the 21 at-risk communities using an unpublished property impact dataset from the Committee on Climate Change (accessed by an FOI request by an unknown organisation), which was intermediary data to their 2018 coastal report.

Property damages were calculated using average local authority values (Land Registry’s UK house price index for England) or site-specific values from Right Move.


Global warming and melting ice sheets are expected to raise sea levels by up to 1 m across our island nation. This will radically change the nature of our much-loved seaside towns and villages by 2100. Combined with more frequent and intense storm surges, the UK’s coastal communities are now on the front line of the climate crisis, and a failure to protect them can lead to loss of life and properties. The elevation of water through sea level rise means wave action occurs at higher elevation, that combined with the increased intensity and frequency of storms that we are already experiencing exacerbates erosion.

A Met Office report from July 2022 said that sea levels have risen by around 16.5cm (6.5 ins) since 1900, but the rate of rise is increasing. They are now rising by 3-5.2mm a year, which is more than double the rate of increase in the early part of last century.


The Coastal Transition Accelerator Programme (CTAP) has been started in North Norfolk and East Riding. The five-year (2022 to 2027) project explores ways of moving at-risk communities and properties away from the coast, known as “rollback”. It will trial funding and financial mechanisms for rollback that have been developed and shortlisted by the Coastal Loss Innovative Funding and Financing (CLIFF) study (commissioned by DEFRA and Coastal Partnerships East). Funding is not guaranteed beyond this amount or these areas.

The maximum grant available to homeowners for demolition of their property is £6,000.


This information is provided for guidance only. Please see the full disclaimer in our terms and conditions.

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