A Welsh village is to sue the government after a climate change report suggested their community would soon be washed away by rising sea levels.
House prices in Fairbourne have plummeted Photo: Alamy
The document says Fairbourne will soon be lost to the sea, and recommends that it is “decommissioned”.
Angry villagers say predictions of that the sea level will rise by a metre a year are alarmist, and have hit house prices and investment in the village.
At a local meeting they voted overwhelmingly in favour of pursuing legal action over the controversial Shoreline Management Plan 2 (SMP2), saying it had “blighted” their community.
The plan for Fairbourne, in Gwynedd, surrounded by the Snowdonia National Park, was commissioned by Pembrokeshire and Gwynedd local authorities and signed off by the Welsh Government. It is not yet clear who would foot the bill should the legal campaign be successful.
Businesses are struggling for long-term investment
Currently, Fairbourne is included in the West of Wales (SMP2) which recommends that, while the village will be protected against flooding over the next few years, in the longer term, as sea levels rise, it will undergo “managed realignment” and Farbourne will eventually be “decommissioned”.
As a result, house prices in Fairbourne have plummeted and businesses have struggled for long-term investment.
The SMP2 plan states that Fairbourne will see sea levels rise by one metre in the next century, but Fairbourne Facing Change (FFC), a community action group looking to sustain the coastal village for as long as possible, has always dismissed this data as misleading.
The chairman of FFC, Pete Cole, said: “There are four Shoreline Management Plans for Wales, two of which, including the one covering Fairbourne, used the more aggressive sea level rise predictions of one metre in 100 years. The other two used more optimistic forecasts. If these had been used in Fairbourne the timeline would have been extended by many years.” […]
Seeking ‘legal redress’, FFC and Fairbourne are hoping to claim back the original value of all the properties and businesses in Fairbourne following the “enormously damaging” claims put forward by the SMP.