The Cove House Inn at Chiswell in Dorset took a battering during the storms
Beaches will be stripped bare of all sand, coastlines will change and seaside communities and transport infrastructure need to move inland if the UK Westcountry is to be resilient to climate change.Two of the region’s experts on climate change warn that while last winter’s storms may have been the worst in 60 years, the frequency of such dramatic weather events mean coastal communities, businesses and authorities must adapt to climate change.. Prof Gerhard Masselink, a professor of coastal geomorphology at the University of Plymouth and Dr Steven Wade, head of scientific consultancy at the Exeter-based Met Office, warned that coastal zones need to change as the cost of repairing weather damage becomes too great With the rise in sea levels and possibly greater intensity and frequency of storms coastal zones need to be re-thought because repairs are economically unsustainable.
Prof Masselink said it made perfect financial sense to reroute the train line inland even at a cost of £100m or £200m because of the cost to the Westcountry’s economy in lost business, estimated between £60m and £1.2bn, including £135m for tourism alone. While climate change may bring bigger crop yields for farmers so long as it rains enough, and bring more tourists to the region attracted by the balmy summer weather, not doing anything about climate change is no longer an option.There is a 65% greater risk of flooding. Climate change is happening and it is a global phenomenon affecting everyone. It is necessary to look for resilience and become more adaptable, taking a long term view – especially for infrastructure, businesses and communities, some of which wont be here in 50 years. While Plymouth’s plan is to hold the line against rising sea levels may work for the next 100 years, in places like Beesands or Slapton Sands a coastal roll back or managed re-alignment will probably happen.
Western Morning News article, We must learn to adapt over threat to our coastline, warn experts