§ Mr. David Porter
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what studies her Department has conducted in the last five years into the impact to the British coast which would be caused by a rise in the sea level of a quarter of a metre; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Jack
The Ministry continues to fund a number of flood and coastal defence research projects relating to climate change and possible sea level rise, designed to ensure that we are in a position to assess the likely impact on the coast and to plan our response. These include the assessment of changes in the probability of sea levels in storms and of the impact of any changes in wave and storm climate on beaches. In addition, the Ministry funds a national system of tide gauges and recent work has been carried out to relate these to a global reference system so that changes in sea level and geological movements can be separately identified.
A further item of research the Ministry has sponsored in the period mentioned involved an economic appraisal of the consequences of climate-induced sea level rise for the East Anglian coast between Hunstanton and Felixstowe, which was carried out by the university of East Anglia. The research indicated that a strategy of raising defences 72W as required would be economically worth while and current Ministry advice is that new or improved defences should include an allowance for future sea level rise based on estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.