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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Political Fiddling Whilst Global Temperatures Rise

The parliamentary machinations at Westminster will become the subject of forthcoming books and probably a movie or two in due course - such is the colourful cast of characters filling media airwaves over the past months (if not years). Tempted as I am to add my own six pennyworth of comments from the seaside on current events in Parliament - the overwhelming sense of national disquiet and barely contained widespread public anger on the Brexit saga causes me to hold off such ruminations.

Far more pertinent to matters on the Fylde coast are warnings and prediction of sea level rises caused by melting icecaps to a level which in time will overwhelm coastal areas around the British Isles (and far beyond). Flat and low lying land masses being most susceptible to the now seemingly warming The Netherlands (formerly known as 'the Low Countries' - for good reason - becoming eminently uninhabitable despite the best efforts of engineers and that nation's land reclamation facing the north sea.

Seemingly likewise England's eastern coastline, particularly around East Anglia, is set to face the same inexorable consequences of global warming. Flood forecast maps for the UK show that the northwest is not immune to the same trends, with Blackpool and the entire Fylde coastline succumbing to far higher sea levels than have ever gone before. Such threatening flooding levels are thankfully decades further on; but forecasting now at least offers due warning of what is to come.

Unlike earlier breaches of the Fylde's northern coastline when Fleetwood itself was inundated (and the tramroad tracks entirely submerged and swept away) - the future prognosis is sustained flooding will lead to whole areas irrecoverably lost to human habitation. Whilst political life is seemingly dominated by the solitary issue of the UK's Membership of the European Union - with a never ending saga played out nightly in the media - the global warming 'agenda' is so high on any agenda of national priorities that it is in fact off the scale as far as UK coastal areas are concerned.

This makes all the more questionable the prevalence of continued housebuilding on the exposed flat lands of the Fylde itself from the Ribble estuary to Morecambe Bay. Local Authorities understandably lack the power and the punch to confront the dimension of global trends involving melting of glaciers, icesheets and trillions of tons of water adding year on year to ocean levels globally. Persuasive tactics of major companies in the house bullding sector - make it difficult for any local authority to withstand their incessant search for new fields to build over.

Of course Blackpool's solitary tram depot lying at the far extreme of the town's seafrontage will inevitably find itself inundated in due course - not to mention much of the actual running line along south promenade all the way to North Pier. Not tomorrow, nor the day after tomorrow but at some point in this century. Whether or not there was actually a more suitable alternative with a higher elevation is questionable given that the whole coastline around the Fylde will come under threat of sustained flooding from the sea - in the course of time. Westminster has little time to ponder these matters outside of select committees and environmental bodies emanating weighty reports. This will change with or without Brexit.

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