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  1. ITV Report

Striking data show dramatic coastal changes over the last decade

Striking images from the South West Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme show some of the dramatic changes to the coast over the last decade at Sidmouth in East Devon.

Striking images show the rate of coastal erosion in Devon Credit: ITV West Country

Resident Paul Griew told ITV News he used to think it would be 300 years before his home was threatened - now he thinks it could be 30 or even less.

It's going about 10 times faster than it used to before 1990.

We've lost what was the South West Coast path, some land beyond that and about 10 metres of my garden. A place I used to sit out there no longer exists.

– Paul Griew

This image from the Plymouth Coastal Observatory shows the rate of change here since 2007. Data suggest parts of the cliff top have retreated some 15m in 8 years.

This image shows the rate of change here since 2007. Credit: Plymouth Coastal Observatory

The concern is not just for the residents at the top of the cliffs, but also for the people of Sidmouth below as the protection from tidal surges dimishes.

Scientists from the University of Plymouth are leading a programme monitoring more than 12,000 miles of coast around the South West. It looks at things like the height of beaches, and how the coastline moves.

12,000
miles of coast around the South West being monitored.
Scientists from the University of Plymouth are monitoring more than 12,000 miles of coast Credit: ITV West Country

The information gathered is becoming increasingly important as plans are drawn up to manage erosion and flooding.

In Sidmouth, scientists say the beach has dropped by more than two metres, further exposing the cliffs to erosion.

Two
metres - the amount the beach has dropped by in Sidmouth.

The research is being used to help draft a beach management plan to be finalised in the Autumn.

But residents like Paul Griew are warning that authorities need to take urgent notice of what the coastal research is revealing - monitoring it properly and acting rapidly.