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  Humber community project  
Areas covered by Coastal Futures –
Humber Community project.
Every winter, over 175,000 water birds rely on the Humber Estuary for vital re-fuelling.  
  Photo: Chris Gomersall (RSPB Images).  


Upstream of the Humber Bridge, the technique of flood storage, where land is used to store water, will help keep floodwater away from vulnerable homes and businesses. Find out more about flood storage here.  
  Photo: Peter Rowarth, Natural England.  
  Coastal Futures – Humber Community Project is a scheme that supports communities experiencing coastal change along the north bank of the Humber Estuary, between Hull and Spurn Point in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The low-lying land round the Humber Estuary is home to more than 300,000 people and over £7 billion of assets, and the Humber ports are the UK's busiest. The Humber is currently protected by flood defences maintained by the Environment Agency. The area also provides vital habitat to a range of wildlife: the vast majority of the Humber Estuary is designated as internationally-important habitat, either under the Habitats Directive, SSSI or the Birds Directive.

Find out about the designations of areas for wildlife and habitats and what they mean from Natural England.

Changes within our lifetime

Over the next 50 years, we expect the sea level around the Humber Estuary to rise by about a third of a metre. We also expect bigger, more frequent storms to occur. The existing sea defences, many of which are at the end of their life, will struggle to cope. This will increase the risk of flooding. Habitats will change and homes and businesses will become increasingly vulnerable.

The issue of climate change cannot be ignored and long-term sustainable strategies to manage the risk of flooding are being developed by the Environment Agency to ensure that people and wildlife continue to benefit into the future. In consultation with local people, a strategy has been developed by the Environment Agency for the Humber Estuary. The strategy aims to minimise risks and costs and bring benefits to the whole community.

To minimise the risk of flooding in the future, strategies such as flood storage in the upper part of the estuary and managed realignment in the outer estuary will be considered. These will be alongside the traditional flood defences such as sea walls and embankments. Find out more about these solutions here.

Listen to the Radio 4 'Nature' programme about the Coastal Futures project and related topical issues.  Hear local people's views on these issues click here to listen

Coastal Futures – Humber Community Project is a local scheme, developed through a partnership between the RSPB, Environment Agency, Natural England and Defra to support communities dealing with coastal change and sea level rise. The project ran from autumn 2005 to autumn 2008. For further information download the community engagement best practice report.