Report Warns Climate Change Is Biggest Threat To Scilly

Report says climate change could affect transport links

Councillors have commented on a detailed report on the potential effects of climate change in Scilly.

A report in 2007 estimated that the sea level rise could be between 18 and 59cm (7-23in), but this the first comprehensive document drawing together differing predictions and findings.

The report warns that sea level rise is the biggest single threat to our community because of the coastal erosion caused by storm damage. High water, low pressure, wind direction and velocity, wave height and storm surges, when combined, could significantly increase the risk.

The work incorporates some recent modelling that warned the sea could breach the Higher Moors between Old Town and Porthmellon, effectively creating two St Mary’s Islands. The list of consequences of potential climate change include increased heavy winter rainfall and higher wind speed which could bring flooding and the backup of water sewage into properties in town. The water supply from boreholes could also be contaminated by sea water.

The report goes on to say that the tourism sector could be affected with more stormy weather interrupting transport links and flags up the possible loss of holiday accommodation if dwellings become uninhabitable, suggesting that there could be negative press associated that.


Positive impacts too


There are positive impacts too, though. A more Mediterranean-style climate could bring an extension to the tourist season and could encourage visitors to holiday in the UK rather than in Southern Europe which could become too hot. And altering climate patterns could reinvigorate birdwatching.

One of the recommendations made in the report is that every building owner or tenant should critically assess their buildings’ ability to withstand high winds and storm damage and select correct trees and hedges for withstanding high winds.