SEAFRONT homes and businesses could be destroyed if a devastating flood hit Southend, it is feared, amid major concerns over “sufficient protections” in the city.

Lydia Hyde, Labour councillor for the St Laurence ward questioned Tory council leader Tony Cox over the risk climate change poses to the city and what protection is in place against “flooding and extreme weather”.

Mr Cox admitted Southend is “increasingly likely” to feel the impact of climate change including frequent and more extreme flooding, faster and more extreme coastal erosion, as well as more frequent and more extreme droughts.

The council leader insisted Southend Council is working on a variety of projects to ensure coastal defences provide sufficient protection.

However, Jon Fuller, South East Essex Friends of the Earth, said: “The threats to Southend are enormous. By 2050 the seas will be rising rapidly and that will accelerate, destroying seafront homes and businesses in Old Leigh, Southchurch, Thorpe Bay and Shoebury.

“Worse still, there will be regular periods of extreme drought that will severely damage crops and our food supply.

“Climate change is arguably the greatest national security threat the UK faces.

“We desperately need councillors who are going to put the long-term safety of the young front and centre in all decisions.”

Lydia Hyde, Labour councillor, and shadow councillor responsible for environment, highlighted projections that parts of Southend could be under water in the next 30 years as she insisted both flooding and heavy rainfall pose a very serious, and real, risk.

She added: “The biggest concern is flooding both from the coast or from heavy rainfall, which could pose a flood risk.

“In a map shared previously, Southend has some parts marked up to be at risk of being underwater by 2050. However, we are also at risk at more rain here.

“I have done a lot of research and I also work in maritime, looking at the risk of coastal flooding.

“We have also been getting lots of surface flooding on roads through Southend, which has caused a lot of misery.

“My concern is what is going to happen to Southend if we don’t adequately tackle and protect ourselves against flooding and climate change. We have to look at the city as a whole and look far ahead into the future. In my job, we are already looking up to 2100, which seems a long way but some of the measures you may have to take, will take a long time to build.”