Viillages threatened by coastal flooding are to be abandoned to the sea because ministers believe that it is not “cost-effective” to spend the vast sums needed to save them. Sunday Telegraph

Ministers have admitted privately that they are preparing to abandon the most vulnerable east-coast sites rather than build new defences.

Pilot plans drawn up for Norfolk, Suffolk and Kent have earmarked communities that will have flood defence money withdrawn.

It is thought many could be under water in 30 years.

An official risk assessment by the Environment Agency, which will report next June, is using a points system to decide which vulnerable parts of coastline will receive new flood defences and which will not.

A senior government source said: “There are some areas where we can build defences, but there are some areas we will have to let go.”

John Gummer, the former environment secretary and Tory MP for Suffolk Coastal, said: “We have been defending this coastline for thousands of years. This is the first government to decide that we will give in. It is immoral not to defend our land.”