Portsmouth could be underwater by 2050, warns climate organisation as council put in new sea defences
PARTS of Portsmouth and the surrounding Solent region could end up submerged underwater by 2050, infrastructure experts have warned.
Climate Central, a non-profit news organisation that covers climate science, claims that parts of Portsmouth Gosport and Havant could be underwater within 30 years.
The organisation believes Hayling Island will be completely submerged by this time, as will Portchester and most of Portsmouth – excluding Buckland.
Jen Samuelson, planning associate at Hampshire-based Barton Willmore, believes the region is ‘sleepwalking into a crisis’.
She said: ‘We have known for more than a decade that sea levels are rising as a result of climate change, and that coastal areas are going to be seriously affected, yet there still isn’t a plan.
‘We’ve got two options – we can move people out, or we can plan something in.
‘In some areas, such as in Portsmouth, there is a large amount being spent on coastal defences, but this isn’t always economically viable for all areas where it might sometimes be better to let nature take its course.’
Many coastal areas will be impacted by rising sea levels and parts of Britain’s coastline will move significantly inland, with the east of England particularly affected.
Rising sea levels will affect people in all regions of the UK within the next decade, according to Climate Central.
Jen added: ‘We need to drive forward the conversation around the fact that rising sea levels will affect those who live and work in coastal regions and understand who and how many people may be affected.
‘As much as we try, we can’t hold back the tide, so it’s vital that we all work together – councils, Partnership for South Hampshire, the communities affected and the private sector – to build a clear strategic regional strategy.’
Work is ongoing across Portsmouth and the surrounding area to build sea defences that will stand the test of time.
Defences are under construction along Southsea seafront, and in recent years the sea wall has been built along Tipner.
Meanwhile in Gosport, plans for a new flood wall at the end of Forton Lake were approved in January.