As we all know from last winter, flooding from surface water is a real problem if we have heavy rain. And the Portsmouth area is also at risk from rising sea levels; The city is surrounded by water on three sides and much of it is only 3 metres above sea level and densely populated.
Why are Sea levels rising?
Climate Change is happening now!
The increase in the average global temperature is causing the polar ice caps to melt which is leading to increased sea levels.
We also have more extreme weather events including unpredictable rainfall & stronger winds so we are at risk from storm surges
When and how much will sea levels rise?
Scientists are still researching the exact rise expected, but there is global agreement that the rise is really happening and NOW!
The Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership have diagrams based on a rise of 6 mm a year but the real danger comes from storms and it could happen faster if certain tipping points are reached and the ice melts faster than expected.
Have a look at this map to what the effects could be at different levels:
What’s the best policy?
Hard decisions have to be made, such as:
Do we abandon certain areas (like Farlington marshes) and defend areas with more homes and industry?
Do we focus on areas most at risk like parts of Southsea and near the Eastern Road?
Could we build any effective defences?
How do we get enough money for the protection we need?
Who is doing what?
There are a number of national government bodies that are responsible for Climate Change and flooding. Different organisations are responsible for different areas and it’s quite complex. This explains it.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (DEFRA) is the main organisation responsible.
See their overall policies here,
You can see what is planned for the Portsmouth area here
Portsmouth City Council has a development and flood risk policy and coastal defence policy
And Portsmouth is part of the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership. They have lots of useful charts and explanations on their website.
That not enough money is being spent on flood defences
That the problem is not being taken seriously enough
That flood risks are yet another reason for urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions
What can you do?
Discuss the risks with your local councillor – What are the flood plans for Portsmouth? How are they working with the Environmental Agency and Defra? What are they doing to raise awareness of Climate Change and the risks of rising sea levels?
Find out whether you are in an area of risk – have a look at the maps we’ve linked to.
Reduce your carbon footprint - there is a direct correlation between the level of CO2 in the atmosphere and the global average temperature.