The Coast

Some 60% of the population lives within 10 km of the coast and many holiday homes and golf courses have been built in scenic coastal areas in the past few years.  This has led to environmental pressures particularly through loss of habitats, damage to machairs and other dune systems and impacts on the visual landscape. 

The biggest environmental threat to the coastal area of the country comes from climate change. The sea level is steadily rising and this will lead to increased flooding and coastal erosion. The pace of global sea level rise more than doubled from 1.4 mm per year throughout most of the twentieth century to 3.6 mm per year from 2006–2015.

The Academy of Engineering in Ireland has published some work on this topic showing that floods that occurred once in 100 years will occur once every 3.3 years when sea levels increase by 0.4 metres.  This will lead to increased coastal erosion and will damage important coastal habitats.

Flood Level Probability Plot
Courtesy of The Academy of Engineering in Ireland

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