Plans to protect Jersey’s future
As an island with a beautiful coastline, see the 100-year plan that aims to protect our island for generations to come.
While many countries hold their heads in the sand, Jersey are making an action plan for what happens as the temperatures continue to rise, and sea levels cause risk of flooding and problems with the infrastructure of our coastlines.
The Shoreline Climate Resilience Management Planning team recently held an initial workshop with stakeholders to talk about the project’s objectives and timeline. Officers from the states Environment and infrastructure teams are continuing to work with global climate consultants AECOM to put into place staged response plans when the sea levels do rise to a dangerous level.
These response plans are essentially flood risk maps which show which areas in Jersey may be at risk of climate change in the next 100 years, the maps are segmented into six parts, and subdivided into 34 sections overall based on a number of factors taken in by the environment and infrastructure teams.
‘The long time periods [of the project] are because that is what we are facing – the sea level rising over a long period of time,’ said senior Infrastructure Department engineer Jamie Mason. ‘We honestly don’t know yet what it is going to look like.
‘If we start talking now, we have got our preparedness ready for if the water level does come up quickly. Then at least we have been talking about it, planning, doing the right thing, to be ready to react. In ten years’ time or 20 years’ time we will be in a much better position.’
The danger is very much a real threat to our island, as air temperatures have been shown to have risen by as much as 1.5°C over the last century, and reports show that the sea level around Jersey is increasing by 3mm per year – a number which echoes research on a global level. By 2100, the sea level in Jersey is likely to have risen by nearly half a metre, causing more frequent extreme weather events which threaten the current infrastructure of the island.
While there are future unpredictable factors that will determine exactly how fast the sea levels rise, multiple scenarios are being mapped out to ensure Jersey is protected.
A previous flood map of Jersey, undertaken by a group of scientists and journalists called Climate Central, predicted that if the sea temperature were to rise by 4ºC, low-lying areas of the Island, including the Esplanade, Le Rocquier School and sections of the west coast, would disappear underwater.
The National Oceanography Centre established baseline climate change data for the Island two years ago, and the data created by them will be used as a baseline for future work, serving to give us the knowledge we desperately need in order to make a plan for the future.
Once the flooding maps and modelling are completed the team will be undertaking a public consultation this summer. The results will then feed into the creation of an action plan in late 2019.