The State Government must not risk severely damaging or destroying some of NSW’s best-loved beaches in an attempt to defend properties that may not survive the worst coastal impacts of climate change, according to NSW’s peak environment organisation.
“I’m disappointed the NSW Government has dug in with a coastal defence plan that puts short-term political expediency ahead of the future of our precious beaches and coastal environments,” Nature Conservation Council of NSW executive director Cate Faehrmann said today.
“The Nature Conservation Council is calling on the State Government not to override councils when strategic decisions are made to protect their coastal environments against the impact of climate change with the appropriate use of planned retreat and voluntary purchase policies.
“Political leaders and coastal communities cannot afford to ignore the increasing pressure on our coastline from rising sea levels and increased severe storm events due to climate change.
“Interventions for property and infrastructure protection must always be weighed against their impacts on our fragile coastal ecosystems and beaches. We must not allow the destruction of invaluable environments in a futile attempt to safeguard properties and infrastructure that have little hope of surviving coastal erosion and storm surges over coming decades.
“The continued enjoyment and wellbeing of our coast means making the tough planning decisions now to ensure a sustainable future. We must avoid new developments in flood-prone coastal areas and implement adaptive strategies for protecting communities from coastal impacts.
“For some vulnerable locations this will require a strategic planned retreat from areas with little or no chance of surviving the unprecedented onslaught from storm events and erosion,” she said.