OMREG Underpins Climate Change Adaptation Progress Report (UK)

OMREG Underpins Climate Change Adaptation Progress Report

ABPmer’s Online Managed Realignment Database aka OMREG has been used to underpin the “Regulating Services – Coastal Habitats” chapter of the “Managing the land in a changing climate – Adaptation Sub-Committee progress report 2013”.

The progress report reviews some of the key ecosystem services provided by the land. Specifically, the report addresses the use of land to continue to deliver important goods and services in the face of a changing climate – supplying food and timber, providing habitat for wildlife, storing carbon in the soil, and coping with sea level rise on the coast. It explores the extent to which decisions about the land are helping the country to prepare for climate change.

The report finds that the 105,000 hectares of coastal habitat along the coastline in England play a critical role in reducing flood and erosion risks to people, properties and land. Around half of all sea defences are protected and buffered against waves and storm surges by these habitats which are also internationally important sites for biodiversity and are highly valued culturally. Setting back defences and restoring coastal habitats, known as ‘managed realignment’, is an important adaptation to rising sea levels.

Information from ABPmer’s managed realignment database was used to provide an average ratio of hectares created per kilometre of coastline realigned, to identify the type of land that has been realigned in the past and the average cost of realignment per hectare.

Colin Scott, ABPmer’s technical lead on Coastal Habitat Creation said: “Managed realignment is a win/win. It gives coastal habitats the opportunity to migrate inland as sea levels rise and the maintenance costs of realigned defences are typically much less than the original ones. According to this latest report, the UK has a goal to realign nearly 10% of the coastline by 2030 and nearly 15% by 2050. To meet this goal, the rate of realignment will need to increase five-fold from the current 6km each year to 30km each year. The report recommends that there should be stronger incentives or compensation arrangements for habitat restoration, the Environment Agency and local authorities should work together to speed up the pace of realignment and the value of ecosystem services should be reflected in decision making. Although these are familiar thoughts to those working in the sector it is good to see them set out so clearly and concisely in such a document.

Press Release, July 17, 2013