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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Global Warming = Rising Sea Levels = Coastal Flooding

John Woodman

An alarming forecast of the consequences of continuing global warming has appeared online this week marking land forecast to come under rising sea levels by 2050 - just over 25 years from now. Melting icecaps and glaciers accompanying increased global temperature means inevitable rise in sea levels to such an extent that the impact on low lying coastal land will involve relocation of millions of people. Quite evidently the Fylde with its flat topography and coastal urban sprawl is extremely susceptible to high tides and sustained rise in sea levels.

The consequence of untrammelled global temperature rise is spelt out by the dramatic map of the northwest coastal area with land expected to be below anticipated sea levels in 2050 marked in red. Even with improved sea defence work the Fylde's coastline will become inundated on present projections. Much of the north Fylde will be under seawater while the south Fylde landmass will equally succumb to the rise of sea levels. Only a central area from approximately Princess Street north to Norbreck will remain unnaffected; but South Shore all the way to Warton and inland as far as Wrea Green and Kirkham will become under expected sea level.

For Blackpool changes will involve a remaining truncated centre, together with northern districts almost cut off by incursions at high tide, but allowing the rail (and road) connection east to Poulton and further on to Preston (and the M6) to avoid coastal erosion. North of Norbreck the dense residential districts around Cleveleys and all of Rossall and Fleetwood will be impacted ie flooded. As will the over Fylde communities as far as Lancaster and Garstang. Not that the Fylde coast is alone in being affected in this way by global temperature increase - far from it. In the northwest both Southport and Morecambe will be inundated along with contiguous areas adjoining the Wyre and Ribble estuaries.

While our attention is diverted to the absolutely immediate consequences of another global challenge in the form of an evolving virus - the equally compelling worst case scenario of rising sea levels overwhelming our coastal towns and land is literally just around the corner. Meanwhile developers aided and abetted by public bodies are hell bent on filling in sites and available space with ever more inglorious residential schemes, many without merit or redeeming features.

The consequences of Blackpool's Council approving the siting of the town's new tram depot literally adjoining the seawall at an exposed low lying property under public ownership (of course) - have yet to reveal themselves in this dark forecast of our future based on present trends. Of course the projections online clearly indicate that the entire area running south from the Foxhall district will succumb to raised sea levels within a generation. This means the new Rigby Road complex intended to house Blackpool's electruc bus fleet will simultaneously be rendered unworkable - and whatever emerges as far as a potential tramway exhibition is concerned.

The Fylde's ever constant battle with nature and the elements is well recorded. Notable perhaps is the large embankment built by the Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad Company in 1898 to carry its frequent service of tramcars across land bordering Rossall School's grounds. This was to avoid flooding from the sea at high tides but creating a sharp inland turn towards a junction with the old Fleetwood to Pouiton road. When Blackpool Corporation bought out the Company in 1920 a new trackbed was installed through former farmland further inland and avoiding potential incursion from the coastline. The embankment remains to this day, clearly visible from the road into Fleetwood,. Both Fleetwood and Rossall (and the tramway) were badly impacted by serious flooding which took several lives and inundated Fleetwood's town centre in the 1920s.

Its a pity that a century later with matters even more serious, the town's exposure to nature's forces are seemingly skipped over in public debate and what passes for local democracy. But reading today's insightful report online prompts this writer at least, to sound an alarm. 'Lancashire Live' 'Rising sea levels could see Lancashire areas like Blackpool, Lytham and Morecambe vanish by 2050'.


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