Saturday, April 12, 2014

Future-proof UK coastal areas against rising sea levels, says National Trust

The Guardian (UK) via Press Association: A clear national strategy is "urgently needed" to help future-proof coastal areas from rising sea levels and extreme weather, according to a report published by the National Trust on Friday. The trust, one of the UK's biggest coastal owners, says many of its sites have been "battered" by storms and "hit hard" by high tides this winter.

Birling Gap, part of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs in East Sussex, experienced seven years of erosion this winter – leaving its cafe and shop teetering metres from the edge. Part of the footpath down to the golden sands of Rhossili on Gower, South Wales – recently voted the UK's best beach – has been washed away by storms.

The charity says it has been forced to "fast-track" decisions over how to adapt coastal areas in the months ahead, rather than years or decades.  Simon Pryor, natural environment director at the National Trust, called for the government to ensure strategies to future-proof the coastline are implemented.

"There is a natural inclination to want to defend the coastline with concrete, but our coastline is dynamic and the forces of nature that have forme
d it are part of its beauty," Pryor said. "Hard defences will always have their place, but the winter storms that hit many coastal places hard have provided a valuable reminder that they have a limited life.

"Where we can we need to give natural processes that have formed our coast the space to work, and create areas where the coastline can realign as the sea levels rise. Natural habitats such as sand-dunes and salt marshes can act as buffer zones that absorb the impact of storms and very high tides."...

The Seven Sisters chalk cliffs in East Sussex, pre-erosion, shot by StephenDawson, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

No comments: