Many existing developments close to our coasts will need to adapt to future climate change, such as rising sea level and higher waves. We work with developers to ensure that redevelopment of historic sites takes climate change fully into account.
Royal William Yard in Plymouth was designed in 1835 by Sir John Rennie as a food and provisions depot for the Royal Navy. Its use gradually declined after World War Two and the Royal Navy left the site in 1992.
The Yard is now being redeveloped and its Grade I listed buildings are being converted into homes and businesses. Cafés, galleries and art studios have already opened on the site and further development, including an hotel, is planned.
Because the development is on the Tamar Estuary shoreline it is at risk of flooding. So we have been working through the land use planning system to ensure that the site can adapt to the impact of changing climate conditions.
What we did and why
We have been working since the late 1990s with the South West Regional Development Agency, Plymouth City Council and the developers, Urban Splash, to make sure that flood risk is taken into account.
Since the 1990s, our understanding of future climate change has increased considerably. This has led to a number of variations in the flood risk information available to us during the lifetime of the project. For example, sea level rise estimates for the end of the century started at 25 centimetres and are now at nearly one metre.
We negotiated with all parties involved in the development to make sure that these changes were taken into account in the design process. And a physical model was built at HR Wallingford Labs in Oxfordshire to investigate the effects of sea rises for the design of the quay side
As a result, a reinforced glass wave barrier and a steel flood barrier have been installed to protect the development from flooding. We also trained the site owners on how to respond to a flood warning.
When developers like those at the Royal William Yard take our flood risk information into account, it helps them to ensure that their developments should not be vulnerable to floods for many years to come.
Who was involved
Plymouth City Council
South West Regional Development Agency