The Essex towns and villages that could be underwater in just 16 years

Large swathes of Essex could be underwater in as little as 16 years due to rising sea levels. With much of Essex both low-lying and close to the sea, the effects of rising sea levels due to climate change could have a severe impact on our county in the future.

Whilst the impact of climate change is arguably already being felt nationally, the impact could be noticeable in less than two decades according to experts at Climate Central. The independent group, made up of scientists and communicators, has released a map which shows huge parts of Essex could be below the flood level in 2030.

According to their scientists, sections of Essex including Foulness Island, Tilbury, Staford-le-Hope and Heybridge could be below the annual flood level. The entirety of Canvey Island would also be below the flood level as would large chunks of the Dengie areas in Essex.

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By 2060, the experts predict large sections of South Woodham Ferrers could be under the flood level - including Marsh Farm Animal Park - and Brightlingsea could be cut-off from the mainland with a section below the flood level surrounding it.

Explaining the map, a spokesperson said: "Areas lower than the selected water level and with an unobstructed path to the ocean are shaded red. By default, areas below the water level but that appear to be protected by ridges (and in the U.S., levees) are not shaded.

"Our approach makes it easy to map any scenario quickly and reflects threats from permanent future sea-level rise well. However, the accuracy of these maps drops when assessing risks from extreme flood events. Our maps are not based on physical storm and flood simulations and do not take into account factors such as erosion, future changes in the frequency or intensity of storms, inland flooding, or contributions from rainfall or rivers."

Climate Central’s sea level rise and coastal flood maps are based on peer-reviewed science in leading journals. As these maps incorporate big datasets, which always include some error, these maps should be regarded as screening tools to identify places that may require deeper investigation of risk.

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