Saturday 22 October 2016

New plans for flood walls as sea levels to rise 0.7m by 2100

Clontarf in 2013
Clontarf in 2013

RISING sea levels of more than half-a-metre by 2100 will put coastal areas of Dublin at risk and are a "huge challenge" to city authorities, local representatives have said.

Research by Danish scientists has warned that sea water levels could rise by almost 0.7m on the capital's coastline, putting vulnerable areas like Clontarf at risk.

The study by the Niels Bohr Institute has warned that sea-levels could rise in Dublin by almost 0.7m in the next 85 years.

That's more than the 0.5m predicted under the Office of Public Works' Irish Coastal Protection Strategy.

Clontarf is particularly at risk, having suffered significant flooding just last year.

Fine Gael Councillor for the area Naoise O Muiri is worried about such a high rise in a relatively short space of time.

"Half-a-metre to a metre, it may not sound like a lot, but it is an absolutely huge difference," Mr O Muiri told the Herald.

Independent councillor Damien O'Farrell is hoping proposals to be released in September for two separate sea walls for Clontarf will ease worries of severe flooding in the area.

There is a plan to build two sea walls there, with one higher barrier farther out to sea, and another lower one closer in that will trap any excess water and send it back to sea.

"They're going to come up with a plan for the height of the sea walls, so I'm waiting to see what they come up with in September, because that will then have to be presented to the Office of Public Works," said Mr O'Farrell, who wants a public consultation on the issue no matter what proposals are made.

Labour councillor Jane Horgan-Jones expects all scientific studies on Clontarf Bay to be taken into account when devising the strategy.

"At the moment the Clontarf flood preventions are a work in progress, and what we're looking at is the wave modelling for the bay and how that would impact on any structures that could be put into place.

"So I'd expect that they'd take into account any research that indicates an acceleration in the rise of sea levels, and in tandem with the research on wave modelling, that it would all feed into whatever strategy that is finally decided upon," said Ms Horgan-Jones.

The Danish research was reported in the Sunday Times.

Some €100,000 was budgeted for flood damage in Clontarf and other coastal locations in the city after a storm wreaked havoc in January 2014.

Coastal car parks in both Clontarf and Sandymount were inundated with water.

City engineer Michael Phillips warned the council at the time that further strengthening was needed across a number of areas in the city, highlighting Clontarf.

"At some stage either our predictions regarding the tidal height will be proved wrong or the temporary measures will be overcome by a combination of high tide, low pressure, wind speed and rainfall with the result that there will be very extensive flooding," he said.


DCC received planning permission to build a 2.75 metre-high wall in 2008, but this received numerous objections, including concerns that it would obstruct people's view.

They then offered to reduce it to 2.17 metres, but this too faced opposition among the public who believed the wall would be a blot on the landscape.

The city faces increasing risks of flooding if global warming - caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere - continues unabated.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis blamed human selfishness for global warming in an encyclical calling for action on climate change.

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