A mega-tsunami could hit the south coast at any time according to a leading government scientifist.

Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the UK Government and Founder of Centre for Climate Repair, told MyLondon in a recent interview that a mega-tsunami, caused by a potential or hypothetical landslide in the Canary Islands, could hit the coastal towns in the UK "any time" in the next 10,000 years. 

While the chances of the giant wave hitting in the near future are "slim" he said: “It could happen in 10,000 years time, but it could also happen tomorrow.”

The tsunami would be triggered by a huge landslide in the Canary Islands, which would see a "mass of rock the size of the Isle of Man" fall into the Atlantic Ocean. It is not explained how this would happen or where exactly the landslip would be.

This would result in a wall of water several metres high crashing into the south coast of Britain, wiping out coastal towns and cities such as Brighton, Southampton, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Exeter.

Times Series: Sir David King warns the UK should prepare for a mega-tsunamiSir David King warns the UK should prepare for a mega-tsunami (Image: Sir David King)

London, despite being more inland, would be one of the worst hit, receiving the wave directly, according to Sir David.

Speaking to My London, he explained: “In the case of tsunamis, the shallower the waters are, the larger the wave will get.

"Once the tsunami passes through the English Channel and into the Thames Estuary, it will grow in size and cause all sorts of destruction in the city.”

The former Professor of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia compared the event to a disaster that struck Lisbon in 1755.

The Portuguese capital was hit by a wave up to 10 metres high following an earthquake estimated to have had a magnitude of between 8.5 and 9 on the Richter scale.

This tsunami killed around 100,000 people.

Sir David said the mega-tsunami could hit with very little warning, leaving people limited time to get to safety. People would "die in their cars" as they tried to escape.

Sir David said: “After the landslide in the Canary Islands, it would take roughly six hours for the wave to reach the UK.

"That might sound like a long time to give people to escape, but there are other places where people had longer to flee yet many people still died.

"What would happen in London is that everyone would get into their cars all at once to escape the city and they’d block all the roads.

"People wouldn’t be able to get out in time and they would essentially die in their cars.”

As well as potentially killing hundreds of thousands of people, Sir David said there could also be ecological consequences in London.

He said: “Salt water coming in from the sea could contaminate some fresh water reserves that Londoners use. There would be some ecological damage to wildlife too.

“On that note, the salt water would also saturate the soil around London. The change in salinity levels would mean farmers wouldn’t be able to grow crops in the area for many years afterwards, as has been seen in other tsunami-affected regions.”

Sir David said Britain needed to be prepared and encouraged more education and awareness for Londoners in what to do if and when a tsunami hits.

Is there any way of preventing a potential mega-tsunami? Sir David told MyLondon there was a solution.

He suggested artificially building ‘two asymmetrical islands’ in the Thames Estuary, this would absorb the impact of any potential tsunami before the wave reaches the city.