Thursday, April 7, 2011

Plan bans risky Queensland coastal development

NineMSN (Australia): The Queensland government has moved to protect more coastal areas from development, with dangerous storm surges likely to be more frequent in future. The new, consistent approach to coastal planning is aimed at stopping more coastline and communities becoming vulnerable to erosion and inundation, associated with climate change and severe weather events.

It comes after a summer where low lying communities were evacuated due to storm surges associated with Cyclone Yasi. The Queensland Coastal Plan asks planners to factor in a sea level rise of 80 centimetres by the end of the century, using new technology to map coastal hazard areas along the coastline.

It bans urban development in areas deemed "high hazard" - those projected to be permanently affected by sea level rise or temporarily hit by storm surges to a depth greater than one metre in 2100. The strategy will also preserve public access to the coast and require an adaptation plan from councils before existing development is intensified in high hazard areas.

State Environment Minister Kate Jones said the plan took the long-term view that was needed. "Councils will be able to better plan for the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, not just over the next few decades but over the next 100 years," she said….

A piece of north Queensland coast, shot by Peter Ellis, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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