From: Dunfermline Press by: Ally McRoberts
A LARGE swathe of Kincardine and more than 100 homes could be under water within the next 20 years, a report has warned.
Fife Council said the village was one of five locations in danger of being overwhelmed by sea level rises due to climate change and coastal erosion.
A new Fife Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) identified Kincardine as an area with the "highest number of properties at risk of tidal inundation in the first epoch, 0-20 years".
It said 103 properties were at risk in the village - the other areas are Tayport, Newburgh, Lower Largo to Anstruther and St Andrews to Guardbridge - but that beefing up sea defences and guarding against floods would be costly for the council and homeowners.
Councillor Tony Martin, the chair of the enterprise, environment and transportation committee that looked at the SMP yesterday (Thursday), said it was the responsible thing to highlight the issues now.
He said, "At the moment Fife Council has no funding for this work but we have a statutory duty to highlight these areas and it's right and proper we do that.
"We then need to see how we can work with other public bodies like the Scottish Government and Sepa and deal with the problem.
"When you put a report like this together you know there's going to be an adverse reaction, it is worrying, but if we didn't do this and face up to the facts about climate change and coastal erosion, it'd be even worse.
"I can understand people living in these areas having concerns but, for most people in Fife, any such problems are over 100 years away.
"The fact we're looking at addressing these issues now will hopefully give people some reassurance."
In a report due to go before the committee, Dr Bob McLellan, the head of transportation and environmental services, said, "The SMP has identified 1206 properties at risk and many areas of low-lying land which are currently at risk of tidal inundation over the next 20 years, rising to 2822 properties by 2110 as a result of sea level rise.
"Some of these are protected by existing defences which are in a variable condition.
"There will be financial implications for the council in the years ahead."
He continued, "In many areas, coastal erosion has been controlled by the
presence of coastal defences.
"The responsibility for maintenance of these defences rests with the landowner.
"Obtaining appropriate insurance for flooding and storm damage is a concern for property owners.
"The council also has a significant number of assets in the coastal zone which are at risk.
"The maintenance of these assets is the liability of the responsible service and the cost of maintaining these assets is likely to increase in response to sea level rise."
Councillors will be asked to approve the recommendations in the Fife SMP, which maps out the policies for coastal defence for the short- (20-year), medium- (50-year) and long-term (100-year) and shows shoreline erosion over the past 150 years and the predicted erosion over the next century.
It also contains an action plan and the shoreline has been split into 58 'policy units' from Kincardine to Newburgh with four options considered for each unit.
These are: maintain the shoreline at the current position; reclaim land by building seaward of the existing shoreline; allow change in a controlled manner to limit movement; decide not to maintain existing defences or build new defences.