1.This is an interim Report for our inquiry into coastal flooding, coastal erosion and climate change. We are publishing it in anticipation of the dissolution of Parliament for an early General Election which will prevent us completing the inquiry. This interim report draws attention to key themes in the evidence we have received so far and some provisional conclusions that the Government, Environment Agency and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) should respond to and our successor Committee or others may want to build upon.
2.We undertook this inquiry because we were concerned about the impact of rising sea levels and how they will exacerbate the risk to coastal communities, businesses and infrastructure from coastal flooding. During the inquiry, it became increasingly clear that we should also include the risks from coastal erosion. The inquiry looked at: what the risks and consequences of coastal flooding and erosion are; the current picture of coastal defence and adaptation; national and local policy and delivery; the involvement of coastal communities in decision-making; and funding.
3.In preparing for the inquiry we held a private briefing in May 2019 with the Environment Agency, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and a researcher from the University of Southampton. We took oral evidence in June and July 2019 from national organisations representing professionals who work to manage coastal change, Flood Re, business, charity and farming interest groups, local authority and community representatives from Looe in Cornwall and Happisburgh in Norfolk, and the Open University. We had intended to hold a further session with the Environment Agency, NIC and Ministers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), initially in September and then, when that was postponed owing to the Government’s prorogation of Parliament, in November 2019. Members of the Committee also undertook visits to the Thames Barrier and Happisburgh and the Bacton Gas Terminal in North Norfolk. We thank all of those who submitted written or oral evidence to this inquiry and hosted our visits.
Published: 1 November 2019