UK News: How to save Mumbles from flooding and climate change - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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UK News How to save Mumbles from flooding and climate change

18:10  21 november  2019
18:10  21 november  2019 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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Since the last part of the 19th century the people of Mumbles have been able to sleep easy in their beds, knowing they are protected.

Since that time, a large seawall, created as part of the Swansea and Mumbles railway extension, has stood guard for them against the unrelenting tides.

With every ebb and flow, for many decades it has been there, keeping the sea where it should be, and Mumbles above the water line.

But things are changing - steps are having to be taken to prevent the promenade from flooding, and now the seawall is indicating it might need a little extra help.

And further around the corner, climate change and its predicted impact is starting to rear its head.

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In June this year, exploratory bore holes were drilled into the wall to investigate the structure beneath the surface and further engineering surveys of the structures along the foreshore are ongoing.

Stuart Davies, head of transportation and highways at Swansea Council, said: “The seawall in Mumbles has done its job for many decades.

But he added: “Inspections of the wall have shown a deterioration of some sections so we want to look a wider plan to repair and improve this important structure to provide effective flood risk management for Mumbles for many years to come.”

“The council now closes wooden boards along the promenade during periods of exceptional high tides to limit flooding to the promenade."

Residents in Mumbles are now being asked to attend an information event on coastal risk in the area, organised by Swansea Council.

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The Council has organised a special drop-in event on Tuesday, November 26, at Victoria Hall in Mumbles, between 2pm and 7pm.

"People are encouraged to bring photos of historic flood events and we are interested to hear from anyone with personal recollections,” said Mr Davies.

“We are in the very early stages of planning this scheme and we are keen to hear the views of residents and businesses in the area ahead of a design being developed.”

a man standing in front of a pier: Swansea Bay's sea defences protect the prom from the worst weather and highest tides © Jonathan Myers Swansea Bay's sea defences protect the prom from the worst weather and highest tides

The Council is working with specialist consultants – Arup - which will assist in the design of the new scheme.

As well as coastal flood risk management, the scheme will seek to preserve and enhance the promenade and seafront amenities such as slightly widening the promenade at pinch-points.

The council will also look at other opportunities that could help boost tourism and business opportunities – this will involve creating better links between key elements of Mumbles including the commercial centre of Mumbles, the park area and the sea.

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Residents and business owners along the seafront seemed satisfied with the current precautions in place, but some said they were pleased Swansea Council was thinking about the future.

Alison and Cen Davies, who own and run Tides Reach Guest House in Mumbles Road, said: "We are not particularly worried at the moment. We have only been here two years, but when there has been a high tide there have been boards put up, which have been great."

Jonathan Hollis, the manager of Verdi's, was also not too concerned.

He said: "We've got a jetty that shields us. Further along it might be a different story, but it's not something we're really worried about."

Vicky Morgans is one of the owners at the West Cross Inn which experiences regular flooding.

She said: "We do flood, but it's usually because of the stream to the side of the pub rather than the tide.

"We are pleased the council are discussing improved defences as around 18 years ago the stream flooded at the same time as high tide and we had to replace the floor in our function room."

Mr Davies added: “The public can help by sharing their concerns and ideas for opportunities for improvements that can help connect all the key elements of what makes Mumbles a successful tourist attraction and place to live.”

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Following the event, the council and Arup will design a scheme that they can present when securing funding for the work – the Welsh Government is helping fund the design and consent phase of the scheme.

Further engagement events are proposed, and a planning application will be submitted next year. 

If a funding bid is successful, construction could start as early as late 2020.

And it may be timely, as recent research has shown that flooding due to global warming is three times larger than previously thought.

According to a study in the journal, Nature Communications, tens of millions more people are claimed to be at risk of flooding if we don't start urgently cutting our use of fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases.

The latest scientific data has shown the scale of the issues coastal Wales could face due to sea levels rising.

Now, even more detailed maps have been produced so you can even see how your street could be affected.

They show how many parts of Wales could be under water within 80 years. This means that children born today will likely live to see this happen by 2100.

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