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Green Sefton highlights the importance of the coast in managing the impact of climate change

Aerial image of Southport coastline
Aerial image of Southport coastline

Climate predictions indicate that over the next century around 350m of the Sefton coastline could be lost to erosion and localised flooding could increase if action is not taken now.

That is why the Council’s Green Sefton Service is taking note of these latest predictions for coastal change, ensuring that its development and management plans mitigate as many of these risks as is possible.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“Sea-level rise, increased storminess, changes in rainfall patterns and temperatures are all key factors in how the dynamics of our precious coastline could change over the next century.

“There is a very real risk that north of Southport at Marshside, our salt marshes will lose their ability to absorb wave energy as they gradually erode, and land drainage will also suffer.

“Our sea defences at Southport and Crosby will weaken and increased water levels may lead to more frequent localised flooding.

“Birkdale, Ainsdale, Formby and Hightown’s infamous dune systems could see increased rates of erosion and loss of vital dune habitats.

“The impact of climate change is not confined to textbooks anymore but could be felt by thousands of Sefton residents in the future if we don’t act now.

“That is why the Council is developing a new flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy and will continue to monitor the coastline as the lead representative for the whole of the north west region.

“We are also dedicated to undertaking habitat conservation works, alongside specialist partners, particularly on our dune systems to ensure the rare flora and fauna native to our coastline is protected.”

Image of crashing waves at the Sefton coast
Image of crashing waves at the Sefton coast

As the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), Sefton Council’s new flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy will take into account these climate change predictions of rising sea levels, increased wave heights, coastal erosion and more common tidal flooding.

Sefton’s communities can get involved in shaping this plan for the future as they have a further two weeks to submit their views to a public consultation. People can take part online at www.YourSeftonYourSay.sefton.gov.uk and have up until Wednesday 17th November 2021.

Flood and erosion events can affect not only those living in coastal and high-risk areas, but also transport networks, schools, highways and local businesses. They can also have detrimental environmental impacts on rare habitats and species.  

Sefton Council is dedicated to producing a management strategy that is fit-for-purpose and recognises the increasing challenges of the climate emergency and where targeted and risk-based investment is needed.

The new strategy will outline the clear roles and responsibilities of not only the Council, but other risk management authorities who work closely alongside Sefton Council including the Environment Agency, United Utilities, Highways England and the Canal and River Trust.

The public consultation includes the opportunity for the draft flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy, and associated business plan, to be viewed in full, followed by a short survey to gather thoughts from residents.

* The climate predictions quoted in this article have been put together by Sefton Council’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management officers using the UKCP18  climate analysis tool: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/approach/collaboration/ukcp/about