Plan now for more beastly weather and coastal destruction

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Weather events like Storm Darcy highlight the need for better protection plans in East Anglia, according to Prof Susan M Brooks and Prof Tom Spencer

Once again, eastern England is in the icy grip of “the beast” (UK weather: Storm Darcy to bring more snowfall and gale-force winds, 8 February), with the coast being pounded by persistent waves up to 4 metres high. In February and March 2018, similar waves associated with “the beast from the east” and the “mini beast” stripped beaches down to bedrock and saw soft rock cliffs retreat by over 10 metres. The erodible East Anglian coastline supports habitats of high conservation value and installations of strategic importance to UK energy security (Sizewell nuclear power stations, Bacton gas terminals). If these outbreaks of polar air are to become more frequent in a warmer world, as some suggest, the potential impacts of such phenomena must be factored into regional coastal management planning, alongside the more usual focus on sea-level rise.
Prof Susan M Brooks Birkbeck, University of London, Prof Tom Spencer Cambridge University

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