Belfast Telegraph

Regular flooding could hit Belfast by end of century

By Linda Stewart

Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of commercial real estate along Belfast’s shoreline could be hit by regular flooding by the end of this century.

That’s the stark warning from Friends of the Earth, which has released a map revealing how Northern Ireland’s commercial heartland will be hit every four years on average by what are currently one-in-100 year flood events.

Millions of pounds are currently being invested in Titanic Quarter, which will be home to Belfast Metropolitan College, the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland and a planned Premier Inn — yet rising sea levels could mean regular floods deluge Europe’s biggest waterfront regeneration scheme every four years.

Flooding could also affect the area surrounding the £97m Titanic Signature Project, while a host of companies based at Northern Ireland Science Park, including US finance giant Citigroup, will also lie in the danger zone.

Meanwhile, the floodwaters could also threaten the heritage of the historic Queen’s Island.

Flooding could also affect commercial activity across the wider Belfast Harbour Estate, including import businesses lining the Herdman Channel, Harland & Wolff, parts of Bombardier and areas of George Best Belfast City Airport.

At present, the Port of Belfast is Ireland’s leading dry bulk port, handling more than 3.5 tonnes of dry bulk every year.

The dangers were outlined by Friends of the Earth and the Town and Country Planning Association, who hosted a climate change conference to examine how our planning system will have to play a key role in reducing emissions and building the resilience of homes and communities.

“Climate change will have dramatic implications for all our cities and particularly those vulnerable to sea level rise,” FOE Northern Ireland climate campaigner Declan Allison said.

Residential areas at risk of flooding in Belfast include the Markets, the Lower Ormeau, Lower Ravenhiill, Lower Newtownards Roads, Short Strand, Shore Road, the Lower Falls and Grosvenor Road.

Dr Hugh Ellis of the Town and Country Planning Association said: “The government must task the planning system with the job of dealing with climate change.”

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