English Heritage Coastal Estate Risk Assessment

Author(s): Abby Hunt

Climate change has direct and immediate impacts on the coast and on historic assets located close to our shores. The necessity of defence in coastal locations and the abundance of natural resources in these areas have resulted in many millennia of human activity and occupation around the coast of England and many sites and monuments have survived in this now increasingly threatened environment. English Heritage (EH) has over 400 historic properties in its care nationwide; of these, eighty are classified as being in the coastal zone. This risk assessment has been undertaken to assess the likely impacts of accelerated coastal erosion and increasingly frequent and severe flood events on the EH portfolio of historic properties. In order to make an assessment of the level of risk, projections of future coastal erosion and information about areas potentially at risk of flooding, supplied principally by the Environment Agency, have been compared with data on the EH coastal estate. Collation of these datasets in a Geographical Information System (GIS) has facilitated the cross-referencing, analysis and efficient management of the data collected during the course of the study. From the analysis of these data, the properties have been assigned a risk level, based upon the likelihood of flooding or coastal erosion and the severity of the potential risk, according to the proportion of the property likely to be affected. Overall, eighty sites (approximately 19.5% of EH’s entire historic property portfolio) are located within or intersect the coastal zone; this figure was reduced to fifty-four sites (or 13% of the total) when further selection criteria were applied, providing the core sample for this study. Coastal properties not considered in this study are principally in urban areas where continued maintenance of flood or erosion defences may be assumed. Of the fiftyfour EH coastal estate historic properties included in this assessment, forty-eight (89% of the total) were recognised to be at risk of flooding, while thirty

Report Number:
Research Department Reports
Conservation Data Management Desk Top Assessment Digital Data GIS Landscape Park Maritime Methological Research Monitoring Change in the historic environment


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Email: [email protected]