Erosion threatens the coasts of Great Britain (Hapisburg / Getty images in the picture).
It is one of the many small and picturesque villages on the west coast of Wales. The wind often blows over the Irish Sea with considerable force because it is a popular place for surfers, making it ideal for water sports lovers. Yet Fairborn is different from neighboring cities because it should be off the map in thirty years. The village is located a few meters above sea level. A total of 450 homes will be flooded by then, considering sea levels are rising due to global warming.
The Welsh local government, which is responsible, has recently decided not to support long-term protection measures in Fairborn. So far, protective walls have protected the village from tidal waves, but this will soon be enough – to the annoyance of the residents. One of them was Bev Wilkins, who moved from the English Midland to the Welsh coast eighteen years ago. “I had the idea of swimming a few strokes in the morning with the view of my own home and a long walk with my German shepherd on the desolate beach,” Wilkins told the Daily Mirror. She now faces the fact that the value of her home has plummeted. In the best case scenario, who would want to buy a place where underwater plants can grow and form corals in the future?
Not only the Fairborn but also the UK village, their future is in danger. The country’s coastline stretches for more than 3,000 km, two-thirds of which is already secured by engineering structures. It particularly affects the east coast of England, the border of the North Sea. In the last ten years alone, the sea has reclaimed some land. Villages that were still believed to be at a safe distance from the water since the beginning of the millennium are getting closer to water resources.
Popular holiday parks in England include apartments that look like long, jacked-up travel groups. As a rule, they were created near the sea to offer the lowest possible route to the water. That turns out to be a drawback.
Sometimes stunning cliff landscapes are declared to be even more endangered. As the sea rises, rock formations become unstable and gradually collapse. It threatens not only pedestrians who walk along the popular coastal trails in the summer, but also residential areas built near the slopes. According to estimates, Happisburg in Norfolk is the most affected area. Within 20 years, the coastline will move 100 meters inland. About 7,000 properties will be submerged during this time.
This number increases if you add the risk of flood damage. The British government estimates that the damage caused by climate change over the next few decades will affect 5.2 million households across the country. The associated costs are in the billions.
Fairborn, with less than a thousand inhabitants, contributes only a fraction of this. Given the large number, the individual fate of the Welsh village seems trivial. Nevertheless, Fairborn is of special importance nationwide. As the first village to be completely sacrificed to the sea, this is an example and lesson for many coastal areas that are likely to be threatened elsewhere. The question of what it means when houses fall into the water because of the yielding soil is of interest. Despite the end of the view to Fairborn, the Welsh village will never be quiet.