Skip to content

Welsh village to sue government over ‘alarmist’ rising sea level claim

February 12, 2016

By Paul Homewood   


h/t Paul2




We often moan about things climate change related, but sometimes my blood really boils.

From the Telegraph:



House prices in Fairbourne have plummeted

House prices in Fairbourne have plummeted


A Welsh village is to sue the government after a climate change report suggested their community would soon be washed away by rising sea levels.

The document says Fairbourne will soon be lost to the sea, and recommends that it is "decommissioned".

Angry villagers say predictions of that the sea level will rise by a metre a year are alarmist, and have hit house prices and investment in the village.

At a local meeting they voted overwhelmingly in favour of pursuing legal action over the controversial Shoreline Management Plan 2 (SMP2), saying it had "blighted" their community.

The plan for Fairbourne, in Gwynedd, surrounded by the Snowdonia National Park, was commissioned by Pembrokeshire and Gwynedd local authorities and signed off by the Welsh Government. It is not yet clear who would foot the bill should the legal campaign be successful.


Businesses are struggling for long-term investment


Currently, Fairbourne is included in the West of Wales (SMP2) which recommends that, while the village will be protected against flooding over the next few years, in the longer term, as sea levels rise, it will undergo "managed realignment" and Fairbourne will eventually be "decommissioned".

As a result, house prices in Fairbourne have plummeted and businesses have struggled for long-term investment.


The SMP2 plan states that Fairbourne will see sea levels rise by one metre in the next century, but Fairbourne Facing Change (FFC), a community action group looking to sustain the coastal village for as long as possible, has always dismissed this data as misleading.

The chairman of FFC, Pete Cole, said: "There are four Shoreline Management Plans for Wales, two of which, including the one covering Fairbourne, used the more aggressive sea level rise predictions of one metre in 100 years.

"The other two used more optimistic forecasts. If these had been used in Fairbourne the timeline would have been extended by many years.


The SMP2 plan states that Fairbourne will see sea levels rise by one metre in the next century


"It’s ridiculous that had Fairbourne been separated by two different SMPs, one side of the village would be a metre under water 30 to 40 years before the other half – it’s nonsensical.

"The 2016 sea level rise forecast produced by the esteemed National Tidal and Sea Level Facility concluded that sea levels could be expected to rise 50cm rather than one metre in the next 100 years and with only a modest 20 to 30cm rise in the next 50 years.

"FFC has never accepted the predictions used for our SMP2. Latest scientific evidence proves that we were right."

Seeking ‘legal redress’, FFC and Fairbourne are hoping to claim back the original value of all the properties and businesses in Fairbourne following the "enormously damaging" claims put forward by the SMP.

"We have been hurt by the actions of the agencies who adopted these plans without thinking of the ramifications," added Mr Cole.

"Serious questions should be asked about the ‘due diligence’ of these bodies which are overseeing a system which is not consistent across the whole of the country.

"A barrister from Gray’s Inn Square Chambers in London, specialising in the fields of planning and local government law, has reviewed our situation and concludes that there could be a potential claim.

"We could be looking at a substantial return, tens of millions, but perhaps even £100 million.

"The barrister has offered to undertake the legal work on a fixed-fee basis of around £20,000.

"Public meetings held on Friday, 5 February, agreed overwhelmingly to personally commit to contribute to the funding covering legal costs and that FFC would ask the barrister to proceed with the initial review and application of those facts to the law.

"We have already raised a four-figure sum towards the legal fees, almost a 10th of the amount required."



Forget about the “a meter a year” headline! Obviously there has been a breakdown in communication (or more likely commonsense) here. The claim is, of course, a meter per century.

But it will come as no great surprise to any of us that there is not the slightest evidence that this will happen.



Fairbourne is on the West Wales coast, on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park.



Across the estuary, there is a tidal gauge at Barmouth. It only started in 1991, and there have been some missing months in between. However, it is immediately apparent that there has been little change in sea level in the last decade.



Tide Gauge at Barmouth


We find a similar trend at Fishguard, just down the coast.



Tide Gauge at Fishguard


There is too much missing data to calculate a meaningful trend, but just around the coast in North Wales, we get a trend of 1.78mm/year at Llandudno, since the start of data in 1994.




The nearest tidal gauge with long term and complete data is Newlyn in Cornwall. Newlyn is a couple of hundred miles away, so there will be some small differences, not least because the land is sinking there at a rate of about 0.5mm/year, whereas the area around Fishbourne is pretty much stable.

Nevertheless, any major changes in the rate of sea level rise would be equally as apparent there. NOAA tell us that sea levels at Newlyn have been rising at the rate of 1.76mm/year since 1915.




Furthermore, there has been no acceleration in the trend. Indeed, it was rising faster before 1970.




As has been noted on many occasions, forecasts of large scale sea level rise this century are little more than fantasy, and certainly have no basis in fact. Grant addicted scientists, sat in their ivory towers, may think they are saving the world, when they play around with their computer models.

But the reality is that they are doing very real damage to people living in places like Fairbourne.

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    February 12, 2016 5:56 pm

    I really hope they make someone pay for this, these academics blight the lives of people without a second thought.
    If it they faced the consequences of their b@ll sh@t they may stop doing it.

  2. Joe Public permalink
    February 12, 2016 6:00 pm

    Perhaps the citizens of Norwich should do likewise – to their local paper:

    On Wednesday, the Eastern Daily Press published:

    “Flooding concerns raised over Norwich’s £370m Generation Park scheme”

    The article continued

    “But, because of what it says is a lack of information relating to potential flooding, Norfolk County Council has objected to the application.

    The council expressed concern over water run-off and the potential for that increasing flooding risk elsewhere.

    The objection follows a previous holding objection by the Environment Agency in the absence of an “acceptable” flood risk assessment.

    And, with Norwich Powerhouse revealing at the end of November that it faced difficulties in securing investment, it cannot commission reports to address the concerns.”

    2 months earlier, that same newspaper had published scaremongering stories about the city being flooded.

    ” ……the idea is based around a situation where a large portion of the country has been permanently flooded due to rising sea levels caused by climate change.”

  3. markl permalink
    February 12, 2016 6:26 pm

    Reduced property values, excessive energy costs, ‘renewable’ energy schemes blighting the country side and oceans, forests devastated to feed the beast, shut down of industry and related job losses, and all for naught. When it was only talk people weren’t worried. Now that it is seriously affecting their lives they are asking questions and becoming skeptical of the “science” behind AGW. Using AGW to engineer life styles through scare mongering and forced legislation is going to uncover the AGW scam. The facts are there for the most science challenged person to see if they look.

  4. February 12, 2016 6:43 pm

    Haven’t they heard? Sea level rise has been postponed due to ‘parched earth’ – no, really…

  5. Paul R permalink
    February 12, 2016 6:49 pm

    Paul, just up the coast is Harlech Castle. When built, it stood directly above the sea. Now, the shore is a considerable distance from the foot of the cliffs on which the castle stands… I wonder if the council has tried to work out if Fairbourne is an erosional or depositional coastline.

  6. mwhite permalink
    February 12, 2016 7:21 pm

    So, I’m thinking there could be a real problem here then???

  7. BLACK PEARL permalink
    February 12, 2016 9:23 pm

    Well we could equally claim for the miss-selling of the supposed effects C02 in general.
    Like all the high levels of VED applied to many vehicles by Ed Millibands 2008 climate Change Act …… I await my cold calls to make a claim 🙂

    Plenty ‘Expert’ opinions ahead at the hearings on this one I expect

    • Ex-expat Colin permalink
      February 13, 2016 10:00 am

      Exactly…reparations and seizure of personal assets so tax payers gets some relief!

  8. Dave Ward permalink
    February 12, 2016 9:51 pm

    Isn’t the Houses of Parliament “under threat” of sea level rise? I would like to propose that building should be decommissioned – preferably with all the “Honourable Members” still inside…

  9. February 12, 2016 10:58 pm

    About 15 miles to the south we find some interesting history:

    Prehistoric forest uncovered by storms in Cardigan Bay —

    There’s been a lot of climate change and sea level change (rise and fall) around these parts.

    • ralfellis permalink
      February 13, 2016 6:02 pm

      Ice age forests, when the sea level was much lower.

  10. John F. Hultquist permalink
    February 13, 2016 3:38 am

    Well, here is the plan.
    Those with connections disparage Fairbourne until the prices of houses and land plummet. Repairs, both private and public, do not get done. The place begins to look a little tacky. Value erodes further.
    In step the moneyed elite. Places are purchased at depressed values and next the connections get reversed. The estimate of SLR is adjusted to unimportant. Subsidies and public expenditures rise. What was tacky now becomes tony and bottom feeders sell at a profit to those looking for a favored lifestyle.

    Looks like a neat place.

  11. waterside4 permalink
    February 13, 2016 9:35 am

    I live on the east coast of Scotland, 100 yards from the north sea, on firth of the river Tay.
    We look out at the Bell Rock lighthouse, 15 miles distant.
    The old lobster fisher men, whose boats lie like upturned beetles on the foreshore assure me that the sea level is falling.
    In reality, whilst this may be so, I suspect it is due to the East Coast of Scotland rebounding from it’s burden of ice age detritus.
    Despite this, we had a neighbour who recently moved in across the street, come to me and asked if we had a mortgage on our property. I answered in the negative, and enquired why he asked.
    He told me he had been refused a mortgage as he was moving into a house lying less that 250 yards from the sea.
    The mortgage company told him they were acting on the advice given to them by SEPA.
    This is a quango paid for by the taxpayer, which feeds their global warming propaganda to the so-called Scottish government, and their crony departments, including insurance and finance companies.
    So this cancer is alive and well, and is already spreading to all areas of Britain including poor old Wales.

  12. R2Dtoo permalink
    February 13, 2016 3:50 pm

    The green blob has used legal proceedings to gain traction for decades. Sue and settle works well with complicit bureaucrats. I hope these folks proceed. It will force public discussion of the modelled numbers/actual data and force the governments to justify the bases of their regulations. Thanks for keeping us up to date.

  13. Derek permalink
    February 13, 2016 4:10 pm

    I think there must be a miss-print in the Telegraph, for they say sea level will rise by a metre a year. If this were correct then we better start climbing up mountains, never mind living on the coast!

  14. ralfellis permalink
    February 13, 2016 5:59 pm

    And what would it cost do do something? When I was in Holland, they were extending the beach, as they do every few decades. A ship came along and pumped sand onto the beach at an unbelievable rate, increasing the beach length by 50 m or more. And they covered several kilometers of beach in a month.

    This was perhaps 30 men working, with the cost of a large dredger ship for one month. Is that really going to bankrupt Wales, to hire these guys out? After all the money they have wasted on pointless PC projects, how about helping local communities for a change? Spending 0.001 % of the foreign aid budget, would reinforce much of the Welsh coastline.


  15. ralfellis permalink
    February 13, 2016 6:19 pm

    And I am still not very convinced about the sea level rise rates mentioned. The following image is in the Mediterranean, which has almost no tides, and this is deep water, so even less tides. The average Med tide is only 15 cm in deep water. The erosional undercut on the cliffs here is reported to be hundreds of years old, as the locals say the position of the cliffs has not moved. This reporting was verified by stalactites flowing down the cliff which were 20cm thick, indicating a very old cliff-face that has not changed in living memory.

    However, as can be seen on the pic, the sea level is still exactly on the same level as the shelf of the undercut. Which indicates that the sea level has been stable for a very long time. If the sea level was rising, then the land would have to be rising exactly in synch with the sea for this to happen. And while the eastern Med is seismic, I don’t buy that argument.

    And I was in the Phillipines last year, and noted exactly the same thing there. This was more complex, because of the tides (although the inner Phillipine lagoon is somewhat protected from deep tides), but over a month the lowest tides were exactly on the level of the very deep and very old cliff undercut.

  16. February 14, 2016 10:50 am

    Astonishing that a ‘pessimistic’ sea-level rise estimate of a metre in 100 years appears in The Bellylaugh as a metre a year! That is a primary-school child error

  17. manicbeancounter permalink
    February 14, 2016 6:56 pm

    I have done some quick research.

    – The “West of Wales Shoreline Management Plan 2” shoreline management plan assumes sea level rise of 0.36m in 50 years and 1m in 100 years. This is at the top end of the IPCC RCP8.5 scenarios – the one with no mitigation policy. So the plan assumes that climate policy will be a complete failure. Then in a comment talks about 2m of rise, so takes the most extreme non-policy estimate and doubles it.

    – The local action group “Fairbourne Facing Change” was set up in 2014 due to highly alarmist BBC reporting of the plan. In an article (and I assume on a programme), the BBC claimed that the plan assumes that flood defenses will ceased to be maintained after 2025 (when sea levels have risen by 1-2 inches on today’s levels) and 400 homes will be totally abandoned by 2055 in the expectation of sea levels rising by 14 inches.

    I back this all up with references.

  18. VernonE permalink
    February 14, 2016 7:43 pm

    Since it first started I have dismissed the sea level rise story as nonsense and examined all the coastal station data. However, as a lifetime yachtsman, I have a nagging reservation that all this data is based upon Mean Sea Level. This is actually a purely academic concept; we have huge tidal range (difference between high and low tide) variations following complex patterns and I just wonder if the arithmetic means are giving the whole picture. What would we see if the data was based upon HW levels?


  1. Blighting of Fairbourne by flawed report and BBC reporting | ManicBeancounter

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: