RISING sea levels mean greater flooding risks for areas like Chester located next to the tidal River Dee.
That’s why the North West England and North Wales Coastal Group was set up to look at the associated economic, social and environmental implications of climate change.
And the group is working with organisations like the Environment Agency, Natural England and English Heritage to draw up a Shoreline Management Plan to establish the best way of managing our changing coast, now and for future generations.
For the Dee estuary, the plan over the next 20 years is to “hold the line” between Chester weir and Sealand rifle range by maintaining existing defences while investigating plans to allow the river to realign in a managed way over the longer term.
Over the next 20-100 years there may be a need to create ‘flood storage’ or new ecosystems – such as salt marsh – in areas that did not previously support that system.
It is hoped the measures will manage flood risk to the Sealand rifle range and the realignment approach could defer the loss of the range in the long run.
Justifying its proposals, the group says such action: “Manages flood and erosion risk to the railway, roads, industry and associated infrastructure and other assets in the flood zone such as cycle routes and footpaths.
“Policy helps maintain a navigable channel in the inner Dee estuary.”
The group points out that sea level rise means tidal flood risks extend further up river than the scope of its plans, which only cover as far as Chester weir.