Lake District, Snowdonia and the Orkney Islands in the UK at severe risk because of climate change
Lake District, Snowdonia and the Orkney Islands are some of the most scenic and beautiful places in the UK with hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking every year to be in the laps of nature. However, if climate change persists, scientists believe that these places are at severe risk of massive changes and they will not remain as beautiful as they are now.
University of Sheffield scientists reveal through a study that sea-level rise, coastal erosion and flooding could wreak havoc at these places and take a toll on the natural beauty that these places have to offer. According to researchers, the small town of Dunwich has already witnessed coastline erosion and this has completely destroyed the cultural heritage and historic character of the town. Ten churches and a friary have been lost there so far, with erosion continuing to threaten the rest of the area.
If climate change continues Dysynni Valley is under threat and this could in turn become a threat to the world heritage status of the Orkney Islands. While heritage agencies are beginning to acknowledge and take steps towards addressing the threat posed by climate change to historic buildings, monuments and sites, research by the University of Sheffield archaeologist reveals how little is being done to protect the landscape itself.
Research by the Sheffield PhD student also reveals how most previous academic studies into the impact of climate change on archaeological remains omit any mention of historic landscapes.
As a response to these threats, scientists have developed a framework for including historic landscapes in climate change impact, adaptation and mitigation research. This includes assessing how vulnerable historic landscapes are to the effects of climate change. Through this framework, scientists also put forward a sustainability assessment methodology for coastal and flood-risk management that includes historic landscapes as a consideration – something which could be used by policy-makers to include the historic character of the landscape in climate change adaptation decisions. This could change the way that coastal erosion and flood-risk management is carried out in the future, with more consideration of the historic landscape alongside environmental, social and economic factors.