Residents of an English village will be relocated: they are England’s first climate refugees

Sometimes in the evening, when she walks her dog along the beach, if the weather is capricious, Georgina Salt confesses to a feeling “Thrill‘ reflects on the impact on his small Welsh village.

But the rest of the time, like most people living in Fairbourne, an estuary between the Irish Sea and the Snowdonia Mountains in north-west Wales, he doesn’t worry too much about the sea-level rise his village has condemned. disappearing

About ten years ago, in the middle of the century, it was decided to relocate the village. Residents can be the first if officials face concerns and remain ad hoc.”Climate refugeesThe UK is increasingly bracing for the effects of the climate crisis after a summer marked by drought and high temperatures.

In July, meteorologists pointed out that sea levels around the UK were rising faster than they were a century ago, while the Environment Agency warned in June that communities living on the edge of the sea “cannot afford to stay where they are”.

As early as 2013, Gwynedd Council accepted proposals to stop maintaining the village sack and relocate Fairbourne, a village founded by a flour merchant in the late 1880s, now home to 900 people. Residents between 40 and 50 years.

The following year, the Welsh Assembly felt that the village was coping”At the risk of catastrophic flooding“As a result, a plan has been drawn up to move the village.”By 2054“.

Fairbourne, despite not having experienced a major flood for generations, became the first British village to receive such a death warrant.

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But city councilor Georgina Salt believes the decision by local authorities at the time was premature and without consultation.

The biggest problem is that they gave a specific date“, he explains to AFP.We are trying to convince them to be a little more flexible.”

Real estate sales plummet, as do property values, and potential buyers can’t get loans.

At the same time, Gwynedd Council has been criticized for failing to detail its relocation plans. This has increasingly frustrated local residents who do not understand why they are being treated differently, and the village of Barmouth across the estuary has not received the same condemnation.

We are not told where we are going to live (…) and how people are going to find work“, Retired Angela Thomas laments that residents live”With the sword of Damocles on his head“.

A village cannot be condemned 40 years in advance, and some plan cannot be implemented.Stuart Eaves, a local councilor who runs a camp in Fairbourne, is upset.

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The situation even inspires conspiracy theories. According to Ms. Salt, residents are convinced that the village was targeted “Because we are predominantly an English community“In Welsh territory.

After ten years of doubt, the Welsh Government is finally revisiting the question and the deadline of 2054 no longer seems as fateful as people want to believe.

Experts have been commissioned to re-examine the file, including a new study that shows the initial plan did not take into account some natural dynamics or the cost of relocating wetlands.

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A spokesman for the Labour-led Welsh Government confirmed Gwynedd Council’s decision.It does not mean that funding will stop in 2054 (anti-flood).“.

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As long as we have funds, we will assess and maintain the village’s flood protection systems.“says a spokesman for Natural Resources Wales, the government agency that manages the dykes.

This gives the campus a little hope and allows some real estate sales to be completed and new residents to move in.

Among them is Mike Owen, who left the north-west of England and settled in the village with his parents and his girlfriend, attracted by the affordability and beauty of the place. “Not sure how the transfer will work“, assesses the 23-year-old.

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