The previous Labor government in New South Wales slavishly followed the IPCC’s alarmist predictions for sea level rise, imposing onerous restrictions on waterfront development and reducing property values significantly in the process.
There have been a number of protests from residents in the Central Coast areas (see here, for example) over these alarmist and unnecessary policies.
Now however, a report from the NSW Chief Scientist abandons the previous policy of “managed retreat” in favour of further research into future sea levels and more individual freedoms to adapt as required, as the press release from Chris Hartcher explains:
The NSW Government today announced significant changes to the way the NSW coast will be managed, giving more freedom to landowners to protect their properties from erosion and dropping Labor’s onerous statewide sea level rise planning benchmarks.
Special Minister of State, Chris Hartcher said the changes mean councils will have the freedom to consider local conditions when determining future hazards.
The first stage of the NSW Government’s comprehensive coastal reforms will:
- Make it easier for coastal landholders to install temporary works to reduce the impacts of erosion on their properties;
- Remove the compulsory application of sea level rise benchmarks;
- Deliver clarity to councils on the preparation of section 149 notices by focusing on current known hazards; and
- Support local councils by providing information and expert advice on sea level rise relevant to their local area.
Mr Hartcher said the changes strike the right balance between protecting property and managing the State’s vast coastline. (source – PDF)
The Chief Scientist’s report gives the following recommendations:
- Given the expected ongoing release of new and updated sets of global climate models and projections, work should begin on establishing the appropriate framework for deriving updated sea level projections for NSW coastal locations and then refining these projections as yet further model outputs become available.
- Considering the rapid pace of advancement in scientific understanding and computational and modelling capacity, and the improvement and lower costs of sensors, the NSW sea level rise projections should be reviewed at frequent intervals including at such time as the release of major new data for future climate projections.
- Sea level rise projections for the NSW coast should be reviewed through a process of formal consultations with experts in fields including climate science, geotechnical engineering, oceanography, atmospheric science, mathematical modelling, statistics, computational science and computer engineering.
Perhaps the first sign of a return to sea level sanity?
The full report is available here (PDF).
(h/t Stewart F via email)