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Irish coastal flood worries

Irish coastal flood worries 21 October 2019

Rising seas bring flood of worries for coastal homeowners (via The Times)

By John Lattimore

What price a sea view? Answer: roughly 10% to 20% above the cost of similar properties inland, depending on the property, its geographic location and the quality of maritime scenery. A house with a sea view will shift much faster than an equivalent property inland and is usually considered a sound investment. However, global warming is complicating matters, and those with a low–lying, beach–front property may well end up watching the tides as carefully as any fisherman.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently forecast a sea level rise of up to 110cm by the end of this century, while the Office of Public Works (OPW) has compiled its own forecasts (floodinfo.ie) of what this could mean for coastal areas if no mitigating measures were taken.

Even allowing for a planned €1bn investment in coastal and river defences, not every property can be defended and the forecasts make for sober reading. Multiple locations around our coast would be affected by severe and extensive flooding, with towns such as Dundalk, Youghal and Tralee suffering heavily. Dublin — particularly Ringsend, East Wall, Baldoyle and Sutton — and Limerick and the Shannon estuary, reaching up as far north as Ennis, face particular challenges given their high concentrations of population and the spatial extent of the flooding predicted.

Nor do we have to wait until the end of the century. Karin Dubsky of Coastwatch says trees are dying in estuarine floodplains because seawater is creeping further in, while coastwatchers report salt–loving high–shore plants invading nearby fields. At the same time, coastal erosion constitutes a growing threat.

However, none of this appears to have impinged much on the thinking or behaviour of house buyers, even in low–lying, sandy areas such as north Co Dublin. Malahide–based estate agent Andrew Corry reports that seafront properties still attract a 10%–15% premium over similar properties further inland and he has experienced no buyer concern.

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