Kent is England’s borderland facing out across the narrow stretch of water to the Continent. It’s where the majority of people and goods criss-cross between post-Brexit Britain and the countries of the EU. And it’s where so far this year some 23,000 migrants have been ferried in small boats across the Channel in search of footfall on the Kent coast.

Kent’s beaches have been at the heart of our national story. Roman legions clambered up them: Jutes from across the North Sea came ashore at Ebbsfleet, now an international train station en route to the Channel Tunnel. Saxons headed further east. Ever since the 11th century when the Kentish people resisted the Norman Conquest and gained a special administrative status thereafter, the county’s long coastline has more often than not been a dependable barrier against further invasions. But many coastal areas are now threatened by a different kind of invasion as sea levels rise and winter flooding worsens. Some forecasts suggest parts of Kent could be submerged by 2050 unless steps are taken to mitigate the local impact of climate change.