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UK Disappearing Village Told It's Beyond Saving

Daisy Phillipson

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UK Disappearing Village Told It's Beyond Saving

The residents of a Welsh village are refusing to leave their homes despite warnings it could disappear due to climate change

Fairbourne is a high risk area for flooding, with rising sea levels, a nearby ​​estuary and flat terrain all threatening to submerge the village in the years to come. 

As it stands, Gwynedd Council, of which Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is a member, has set up a project board to defend the village in Gwynedd for a period of 40 years. 

But this started in 2014, with authorities warning the area could be wiped off the map by 2054. 

Fairbourne in Wales is at risk of being wiped off the map in the next 30 years. Credit: Getty Images
Fairbourne in Wales is at risk of being wiped off the map in the next 30 years. Credit: Getty Images

A spokesperson for Gwynedd Council told the BBC’s Future Planet: "The latest forecasts predict that it would not be safe or sustainable to defend Fairbourne beyond 2054.”

As for the approximately 700 people who currently live there, they are concerned about their community and are calling on the council to offer up more help. 

Already millions of people worldwide are displaced from their homes each year due to weather-related events caused by climate change, and this issue is set to only get worse moving forward. 

Numerous coastal areas across the UK are set to suffer a similar fate to Fairbourne, with local councils unable to fund defences as sea levels continue to rise. 

The outlet went on to note that the village initially had a shingle bank made up of pebbles to hold the water back, but storms and high tides are starting to erode the border away. 

Sian Williams, head of operations in North Wales for NRW, explained: "2054 is the tipping point when the cost-benefit no longer stacks up to maintain the flood protection systems.”

The council highlighted the fact that the cost of maintaining flood defences would far exceed the value of the properties in the area.  

As previously reported by the LA Times, authorities have been working with villagers in order to try and move them away, leading house prices in the area to plummet and the residents to be dubbed the UK’s first ‘climate refugees’.

But many locals are refusing to leave their home and their community, claiming that they’ve not received any compensation or assistance.

Stuart Eaves, 72, who’s lived in Fairbourne for 26 years and raised his five children there, told the outlet: "It's such a lovely place to live. 

“There's not a lot of money here but it's got what money can't buy: peace, tranquillity, security and community.”

He continued: "People here have no fears, we go for a walk when it's dark and don't lock our doors.

“Everyone knows each other and talks to each other. If we have to move, we've got to abandon this way of life and learn to live in a new way. 

“It's more than just losing your home; it's losing your whole identity."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: UK News, Environment, Global Warming

Daisy Phillipson
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