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Kent sinking by 0.3mm each year

Flooding at Angel Corner
Flooding at Angel Corner

by Jo Sword

Kent’s coastline could look dramatically different in the future as the county continues to sink into the sea.

Scientists at Durham University say they have made the most accurate predictions yet which show Kent, and the rest of the South East, is sinking by 0.3mm a year due to the ice age tilt.

Coupled with rising sea levels it’s thought this sinking will add between 10 and 33 per cent to projected sea levels rises over the next century.

Prof Ian Shennan from the university said: “When a huge mass of ice melts, the land readjusts over time but there’s also a response in the earth’s mantle and this affects the shape of the surface of the earth’s oceans.

"Changes in our oceans and land uplift and subsidence will continue to have a significant effect on our coastlines this century.”

Kent's flood risk map
Kent's flood risk map

The Environment Agency says that when building current sea defences such as the one at Dymchurch, they are creating them to last 100 years.

Clive Older, the Kent and East Sussex coastal engineer, says there will be one area of the county that will be affected than anywhere else: “Around places like Romney Marsh, where it is all low levels and they really depend on our coastal defences, the heights of those are really going to get bigger and the main contributor to that is sea level rise, rather than the tilt.”

It’s hoped these projections will help councils and other authorities plan their sea defences over the coming years.

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