Report on National Coastal Change Management Strategy sets out long-term blueprint to deal with future coastal change
Following Government approval, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien, TD, and the Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Patrick O’Donovan TD today published the Report of the Inter Departmental Group on National Coastal Change Management Strategy.
The Government also agreed today to the immediate establishment of the Interdepartmental Steering Group on Coastal Change.
Increases in sea levels and storm surge arising from climate change will result in increased coastal erosion and displacement of the inter-tidal zone over the coming years and decades. The impacts of coastal change will affect many sectors of our economy, including households, transport, agriculture, our environment, tourism and our cultural assets.
In response to the developing risks associated with climate change – including changing weather patterns and an estimated sea level rise of up to one metre by the year 2100 – the Government established the Inter Departmental Group on Managing Coastal Change Strategy. The purpose of the Group was to scope out an approach for the development of an integrated whole of Government strategy for managing coastal change. The Report published today sets out the Group’s initial findings and recommendations to enable the State to assess risks and develop appropriate responses.
Welcoming the report, Minister Darragh O’Brien said:
“This is an important report for the future management of our 5,800km of coastline. As an island nation, the challenge facing us is long term and the full impact of coastal change due to climate change will occur over time. That’s why it’s vital we put in place an evidence-based framework now, to underpin and guide the State’s response. In my own area of North County Dublin we have already witnessed some devastating impacts of coastal change and this report and its recommendations provide a roadmap for responding to the challenges in a structured, planned and evidence-based way.
“It’s implementation will require an integrated whole of Government approach with actions across many sectors. We now know what we need to do and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will play a key role in coordinating and driving this essential work.”
Minister Patrick O’Donovan said; “While Ireland is well advanced in its work to tackle coastal flood risk now and into the future, it is clear that a long term, multi-sectoral, approach is needed to appropriately manage and address the further risks associated with coastal change.
“I am pleased that the OPW will take the lead on the technical aspects of assessing coastal change impacts, including co-ordinating the monitoring of physical coastal change, assessing and mapping areas at risk from coastal erosion, the development of a coastal change research programme and assessing potential coastal protection works for communities at risk, including the use of nature-based solutions. This will inform the identification of risks across impacted sectoral interests and will provide a solid basis for the development of appropriate sectoral responses.”
Tackling coastal change management in response to climate change will be complex, multi-faceted and dynamic, demanding a range of research, policy and consequential management responses. Through the 15 recommendations set out in the report, an evidence-based coastal change management strategy facilitating key decisions to be taken to address and manage the impacts of coastal change over the short, medium and longer terms will be put in place.
The Report of the Inter Departmental Group on National Coastal Change Management Strategy is available here.