Action needed to protect coastal areas
Urgent action is needed to protect Cornwall’s coastal communities, according to a report published last month.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says that the current approach to protecting England’s coast from flooding and erosion is not fit for purpose as the world warms.
Environmental scientist Angela Terry explores the implications of the report and what it means for Cornwall.
She writes: “The subject of flooding is not a new one for Cornwall. People who live in Cornish coastal towns and villages have always lived with the threat – indeed this week we were being warned of Storm Diana, which brought strong winds and heavy rain to Devon and Cornwall.
“But a new report by the Committee for Climate Change, the Government’s independent advisors on climate change, shows that the situation is getting worse and a long-term approach to tackling the problem is needed.
“Climate change is accelerating what is already a big problem. Not only is it causing more extreme weather events bringing higher rainfall but it is also resulting in rising sea levels.
“The latest predictions published by the Environment Agency and the Met Office only this week say that sea levels around the UK will increase by 1.15 metres or more as early as 2100 – within the lifetimes of today’s children.
“As the world warms, ice is melting in Antarctica, Greenland and elsewhere, causing extra water to flow into the oceans. Thermal expansion is also contributing to the sea level increase, which is happening at a rate of 3mm a year and accelerating as global temperatures rise.
“Continuing to build ever higher flood defences, such as the re-building of the sea wall at Portreath that begun earlier this month, is not going to be a sustainable or affordable long term solution...”