‘Lack of coastal data has impeded management policy’
East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has said a comprehensive coastal survey in Northern Ireland will provide essential data on which to base environmental policy, including responses to the effects of climate change.
There was currently a lack of data on our coastline and how it was changing. Plans by the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs’ Coastal Forum to complete a survey this year were to be welcomed, she said.
“We have some of the most scenic and dramatic coastal areas of the British Isles here in Northern Ireland not to mention our only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Giant’s Causeway,” Ms Sugden said. “Protecting them for future generations is vital, but we can only do that if we have information on which to base the required management policies.
“I am glad this data gap is being addressed with a £400,000 survey plan and that the Coastal Forum along with DAERA and the Department for Infrastructure are working to have this completed soon.”
The National Trust, which is responsible for 22 per cent of Northern Ireland’s coastline, have also been working collaboratively in progressing coastal issues.
The organisation recently expressed concern about the threat to coastal areas, including the Giant’s Causeway, by erosion, landslides and increasing sea levels as a result of climate change.
Ms Sugden continued: “As Northern Ireland’s Climate Change Bill progresses through the Assembly, the issue of coastal change highlights the need for a joined-up and data-led approach to managing the challenges created by climate change.”