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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Goodbye To The Fylde's Coastline

John Woodman

Amid all the futore over the Monarch's 70th year of her reign and the current imbroglio between the UK Government and the EU apparats in Brussels over Northern Ireland's status - these are but minor blips on the calendar when set against the impact of global warming on sea levels. Several, indeed many, forecasts from reputable organisations and international agencies point to massive impact on coastal regions around the world vulnerable to rising sea levels. Not the least of which are islands in the Pacific with the impossible task of stemming sea incursion overwhelming them. As an island nation surrounded by ocean the UK is understandably equally threatened.. Forecasters have prioritised those UK regions and areas most at risk, with Wyre being amongst the highest such coastal district on the west coast, along with much of the Fylde.

The sea rules. An LNWR steamer service from Fleetwood to Ireland.

Sea levels are predicted to rise year on year through cummulative melting icecaps and glaciers brought upon by incremental rise in global warming. The more immediate consequences will become evident well before 2040, with the north Fylde coast being impacted through the Wyre estuary and Morecambe Bay. While the south Fylde equally faces the Ribble estuary from the Irish Sea, with low-lying coastline (on both sides). Large tracts of the Fylde are likely to undergo submersion from seawater, including areas of Blackpool, which itself will not be immune to catastrophic flooding from the sea.

Of pertinent relevance to readers of this blog is predicted disappearance of land north of Anchorsholme, as far inland as St Michaels. Blackpool's decision to site its tram depot adjacent to the seawall at Starr Gate gives no protection from predicted rising sea levels overwhelming both trams, track, homes and businesses. This is forecast to affect districts at Foxhall, along Lytham Road and Rigby Road, meaning the entire transport infrastructure presently onsite near Manchester Square could well become permanently under seawater, with tram (and electric bus) operation being unsustainable In fact the entire economic (and physical) profile of the Fylde will become both radically altered as well as substantially diminished.

Of course not much attention is given to these forecasts, with constantly encroaching house building engorging green fields within Fylde districts in an almost insatiable land grab by developers large and small., aided and abetted by local Councils. By way of example the barrack like construction along Clifton Drive with only sanddunes offering any protection from sea level rise is a lesson in foolhardy local politics and literally head in the sand planning. Its seemingly bad for business and local government to forewarn prospective home buyers and investors through public service announcements or distant early warning of impending flooding, or land loss, well within twenty to thirty years. Not that the Fylde is alone in facing such traumatic natural disaster on this scale. Much of the east coast and south east is equally at risk from these changes; with the capital potentially looking at seawater immersion on a vast scale through the Thames estuary. Some might think this is no bad thing, prompting a permanent relocation to the north.

However online searches for 'UK Coastal Flooding' and 'Fylde coast sealevel rise' proffer substantiated reports and findings of diverse organisations from the UN down. Not that this part of the British Isles is in ignorance of nature's forces. The community of Kilgrimol was permanently lost to the sea off the coast near Bispham; while both Fleetwood and Rossall suffered large scale tidal flooding in the last century - with severe damage to the tramroad and fatalities. In fact the heightened berm built in 1898 to carry the tramroad across land adjoining Rossall School remains in place today as testimony to anticipated sea incursion foreseen by the original developer.

Berms however are not likely to stem the sea in climate conditions forecast this time round.


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