Vast swathe of land between King’s Lynn and Cambridge to be lost as sea rises, Met Office warns

The Met Office has warned rising sea levels could devastate coastal towns and farmland between Kings

The Met Office has warned rising sea levels could devastate coastal towns and farmland between Kings Lynn and Cambridge. Photo: Mike Page. - Credit: Mike Page

A large area of land stretching between King's Lynn and Cambridge will be destroyed as rising seas levels flood 1.7 million homes and devastate coastal communities, a chastening Met Office report has concluded.

The UK Climate Projections (UKCP) 2018 report has found UK sea levels are likely to increase by 3-4ft by 2100 and 10ft by 2300 due to greenhouse gas emissions warming the earth.

The change will not only impact coastal communities but could spread inland also - with the majority of farmland between King's Lynn and Cambridge falling below sea level and turning to marshes.

A range of scenarios are included in the report depending on the different rates of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

Each year around 50bn tonnes of CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere, of which the UK is responsible for 1bn tonnes.

The Met Office warns if these emission continue the earth will warm by around four degrees centigrade, heating the sea and melting the ice-caps.

And while the high emission projection sees summer temperatures up to 5.4 degrees hotter by 2017 sea levels are projected to rise under all emission scenarios.

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Environment secretary Michael Gove believes the findings illustrate the work which needs to avoid potential devastation.

He said: 'This cutting-edge science opens our eyes to the extent of the challenge we face, and shows us a future we want to avoid.

'The UK is already a global leader in tackling climate change, cutting emissions by more than 40pc since 1990 – but we must go further.

'By having this detailed picture of our changing climate, we can ensure we have the right infrastructure to cope with weather extremes, homes and businesses can adapt, and we can make decisions for the future accordingly.'

The projections were commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) three years ago - with the aim to help policymakers prepare appropriately environmental changes around the globe.

Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser Ian Boyd added: 'Climate change will affect everybody. UKCP18 is designed to help everybody make better decisions, from those buying a house to people making large investments in infrastructure. It has been produced using state-of-the-art methods.'

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