Neither ECO nor it’s officers or volunteers accepts any liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from any action taken in reliance on the information contained within this website and gives no warranty or representation as to its accuracy or reliability. A full copy of our liability document is available within the Documents page.

Site went live November 2015. Updated June 2017

Unique visitors

 

Total Views

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 (which in the South Eastern region is slowly dropping). Their results include the constant variation from surges cause by 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 figures used by the UK Govermnment for the rate of sea-level rise were substantially over-rated.

 

 

 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 Google, but we will stick with some facts;

 

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

  • Whether fueled by mankind or not, most scientists now accept we appear to be in a period of temperature rise.

  • 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 17°c, which is in the range where the increase in volume really starts to gather pace.

  • 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 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 worlds governments are becoming ever more aware of the issues and are beginning work on solving some of them.

  • ECO is making sure we at least 'do our bit' to help protect the Essex Coastal area.

 

 

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

  • Comprehensive and complex new EU 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 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?

  • Climate scientists have said it’s currently being driven by a combination of global warming and unusual ocean conditions (and this intense stormy pattern could have a few years to run).

  • The rapid warming in the Arctic is making the jet stream (the high-level river of air that snakes around the northern hemisphere) more 'wavy'.

  • The warmer Arctic has made the north-south air temperature contrast smaller, which weakens the jet stream, and makes it more prone to being deflected by obstacles in its path, such as mountains or anomalies in ocean temperatures.

  • The UK is starting to feel the full impact of this wavy jet stream, thanks to an unusual cool patch of water in the North Atlantic, probably created by excess melting of the Greenland ice sheet. This winter, the jet stream has been skirting around the bottom of this cold North Atlantic blob and then aligning itself in a south-west to north-east direction, placing northern England right in the crosshairs.

  • The flooding problems in the North of the UK around Christmas 2015 have shown that this wavy jet can easily become jammed in place, firing storm after storm at the same locations. Ocean temperature anomalies tend to persist for months to years, so we could see the UK dealing with stormy conditions for a few years.

  • Add to this the powerful effect of another ocean anomaly (the El Niño, which is causing weather havoc all over the world) and it is easy to see why the weather is so out of kilter in the UK lately.