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Rising seas threaten UK nuke plant, church, more

my-coastline-ravenglasslrgRising sea levels caused by global warming pose a threat to animals, humans and important structures of Lancashire, Cumbria and Wales, according to researchers at the University of Manchester.

Richard Kingston and Adam Barker, both with the university’s School of Environment and Development, have launched a Website where citizens and organisations can view maps showing how various coastal areas will likely be affected by rising seas. The maps also provide links to proposed shoreline management plan policies as well as to a form for offering public comments on those proposals.

“If local agencies are forced to abandon sections of our coast to the advancing sea, then this can only be effectively done with the knowledge and understanding of local communities,” Barker said. “Clearly it’s a pressing issue: large parts of the coastline — some of which are highly populated — are likely to recede. At the same time however, local authorities are under pressure to release more land for development.”

He continued, “Something needs to be done to manage this transition as effectively as possible and to involve the people who live in these areas in the decision-making process.”

According to the UK Climate Change Impacts Programme, high tide levels along the British coastline are expected to rise by 10 to 34 inches by 2080. Such increases would pose a significant threat to:

  • The nuclear reactor at Sellafield in Cumbria;
  • Historic St Peters Church in Heysham;
  • Formby Sands in Lancashire, which is home to endangered red squirrels and the rare Natterjack toad; and
  • Cemlyn bay and lagoon in Anglesey, known for its populous terns and other wildlife.

“”This project is about utilising new technology to make it easier for the public to engage with proposals to manage the changing coastline,” Kingston said. “The plan is the means by which the Coastal Group will determine the
best way to look after the coast in a sustainable way for the next 100 years.”

Engaging citizens throughout the process is the best way to ensure better future results, he added.

“If you don’t properly involve the public, then poorly developed and unpopular planning decisions will result,” he said.

Need to know more? Check out the North West and North Wales Coastal Group … or, if you’re especially pessimistic, start drawing up plans for your own Waterpod.

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