Homes at risk of erosion

Coastal erosion at Skipsea
Coastal erosion at Skipsea

At least 204 homes on the East Yorkshire Coast could fall into the sea during the next century.

That’s the gloomy forecast in an Environment Agency report which warns it will be cheaper to let the properties fall into the North Sea than carry out expensive work to stabilise rapidly eroding cliffs and shorelines.

To make matters worse owners of vulnerable homes are often unable to get insurance and there is no compensation scheme in place. It could mean those living in cliff-top communities could lose everything if there’s a major landslip.

Some residents of the Skipsea are well aware of this.

They and others on the Holderness Coast, described as the fastest eroding coastline in Europe, have already seen homes, gardens and roads washed into the sea.

East Riding councillor for East Wolds and Coastal Ward, Jane Evison, helped lobby Government to obtain £1.2million for the affected areas in 2009 but that money is almost gone.

“It has not been spent on sea defences or to give compensation but to help people move on and to support them. It could, for example have been help with the cost of providing an alternative access to their homes to give them a longer life, or help with demolition to stop that cost falling on their shoulders,” said Coun Evison.

The government has been able to make money available for sea defences, but only for areas of high population such as Bridlington and Hornsea.

Erosion has been taking place in Skipsea, Ulrome, Withernsea, Fraisthorpe and elsewhere along the East Riding coast for centuries. As an example, the entire village of Auburn near Fraishorpe disappeared under the waves decades ago.

The Environment Agency report reveals that nationally, around 7,000 homes are forecast to fall into the sea by 2114.

An East Riding of Yorkshire Council Spokesperson confirmed that no compensation was available to residents at risk from coastal erosion, and that the £1.2 million of funding from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to deliver a Coastal Change Pathfinder project providing support, assistance and guidance to coastal communities at greatest risk had funds available through the East Riding Coastal Change Fund (ERCCF).

“The council will continue to work with coastal communities and ward and parish councillors to ensure that the remainder of the ERCCF funding is used to identify and support those residents most in need of assistance.

“We will also continue to lobby Government and Defra for an ongoing national coastal change adaptation fund beyond the end of the ERCCF.”