top of page

Frequently Asked Questions


 01  What is Essex Coast Organisation all about?​
  • ECO is a subscription based organisation representing the concerns and challenges of landowners in Essex. For a much more comprehensive insight into the organisation...


  • As a result of the work we do, there are also huge benefits for all the coastal communities in the Essex area...


 02  Is sea level really rising at the rates suggested?

​This question has become integral to many countries environmental policies, therefore has become very political. The facts are;


  • There are many ways of measuring 'sea level rise'.

  • No single method of measurement is completely reliable.

  • Basic tide gauges are only able to roughly measure peak and low tide levels compared to land level (landmasses wordlwide continue to tilt, creating some rising coastlines, some lowering).

  • Results have to take into account the constant variation from surges caused by wind and/or high and low pressure weather systems.

  • Satelite based measuring systems still have a relatively large scope of variation from standardised correction signals.

  • Many recording stations are run by parties with a personal agenda for the results.

  • ECO has shown that previous figures used by the UK Government for the rate of sea-level rise were substantially over-rated.

  • A study in 2019 suggests that the annual 'global' increase remains linear at about 1.5mm/year.



 03  How much is 'Global Warming' affecting sea-level rise?

​This is another highly controversial topic that has a multitude of answers if you care to research deeply, but we will stick with some facts;


  • Global temperatures have always fluctuated, sometimes just subtle changes, but routinely enough to cause ice-ages.

  • Many scientists agree we have been in a period of temperature rise as we are still recovering from the last ice-age. The argument is over how much (as many gauges are compromised by Urban Heat Island effects) and if the 3 - 6% human created CO2 is the cause.

  • It is simple science that water volume increases with temperature (well, after 4-5°c), but the increase is not linear... in other words, the warmer it becomes, the faster the water volume increases.

  • 71% of the world is covered by water, with over 96% of that being sea-water in our oceans. The average surface temperature of oceans is currently stated as 17°c, which is in the range where the increase in volume really starts to gather pace. Thankfully, surface temperatures are just that, and reflect only a very tiny proportion of the total quantity of water in the oceans. Currently there is no conclusive data regarding changes to the overall average temperature, but suggestions are that it is very difficult to raise the overall average.

  • The South Eastern region of the UK, along with many other places around the world, is slowly sinking.


      Is there any good news?  


  • New data from NASA has suggested that Antarctica (the Southern one) isn't shrinking, but is actually getting taller. It is gaining ice mass from inland snow-fall, and instead of driving sea level rise it may be able to slow it down! Read our Blog dated 3rd November 2015 for a full write-up.

  • The whole 'CO2 causing climate change' argument is heavily contested by hundreds of climate scientists with perfectly good science.

  • ECO, as a non-political organisation, is making sure we at least 'do our bit' to help protect the Essex Coastal area against immediate and potential threats, which have far more to do with natural tidal surges, often 1-2 metres high, than any incremental rise in sea-level that is currently estimated to be a few millimetres a year.



 04  Why are the Environment Agency doing less maintenance work?
  • Limited budgets for maintenance.

  • Comprehensive and complex environmental restrictions.

  • Ever more restrictive Health & Safety policies.

  • Increased bureaucracy.


 05  Surely the Authorities are responsible for Flood Prevention?
  • Actually, virtually all works carried out by Government Agencies are under permissive powers rather than any legal obligation. In other words, they don't have to do the work. 

  • Currently, we have a strange scenario whereby the UK Government and the EU are implementing statutory duties to control future climate change in order to combat, amongst other things, the increased flood risk from sea level rise. Yet neither have imposed any statutory duty to defend people on the the coast against flooding and erosion (although there are plenty of regulations to protect specific wildlife).



 06  Can you sue the Environment Agency if your property floods?

  • In UK law you cannot sue the EA if you are flooded.

  • Somewhat strangely, under existing EU directives a water vole or a bittern (and many other plant and animal species) are legally protected from flooding and often have to be re-housed at taxpayers expense. If these species are disadvantaged, they (or more accurately their human supporters) can and do take legal action against the government.


 07  Why don't we just build bigger seawalls?

  • The first issue is obviously cost, but many landowners are exploring joint ventures with building projects that can generate huge quantities of clay (that is ideal for most Essex seawalls) which under perverse modern regulations becomes classed as a waste once dug from foundations.

  • There are also some huge issues with regulations... Whilst such a seemingly obvious use of 'waste' clay is to reinforce and raise existing sea-defences, there are some influential parties who would wish for the existing defences to be removed and let the sea reclaim the land currently protected.


 08  What is it with all this crazy weather lately?

  • First off, commonly available statistics show there is maybe NO more 'crazy weather' now than there ever was, so, as with all weather and climate science, most of the perceptions or even conclusions are often at odds with other data sources. 

  • The effects of natural weather extremes are often made worse by poor planning, poor maintenance and an ever increasing population. Then the dire results are usually more readily shared wordlwide via social media, often along with another agenda.

  • Some climate scientists have suggested that some weather events may be a combination of the well known solar cycles and the Earth showing signs of a long overdue Pole Shift.

  • The jet stream (the high-level river of air that snakes around the northern hemisphere) may have become more 'wavy'.

  • The jet stream may have weakened, which would make it more prone to being deflected by obstacles in its path, such as mountains or anomalies in ocean temperatures.

  • The UK often feels the full impact of this wavy jet stream, thanks to unusual cool patches of water in the North Atlantic, probably created by natural melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The jet stream sometimes skirts around the bottom of this cold North Atlantic blob and then aligns itself in a south-west to north-east direction, placing northern England right in the cross-hairs.

  • Ocean temperature anomalies tend to persist for months to years, so the UK often deals with stormy conditions that seem at odds with continental Europe.

  • Add to this the powerful effect of another ocean anomaly (the El Niño, which causes weather extremes all over the world) and it is easy to see why the weather can often appear so out of kilter.


bottom of page