The areas of South Tyneside which will be under water by 2030, according to latest climate change projections
Leaders in South Tyneside have issued a renewed call for climate action after new research suggested parts of the borough could be under water by 2030.
According to projections made by the Climate Central non-profit group, parts of Jarrow and Tyne Dock are set to be submerged by rising water levels if emissions continue at their current rates over this decade.
The research group's findings, represented on an interactive map, also shows stretches of South Shields’ seafront along with Marsden Bay threatened by flooding and heightened erosion in the next 10 years.
Green Party councillor David Francis, who represents Beacon and Bents, said South Tyneside was at heightened risk of flooding as a result of its position between two rivers.
“Because we’re a coastal community with a riverside area – and so, not only a seafront – some locations in the borough look particularly vulnerable to sea level rises,” he said.
"This has certainly been part of the motivation behind trying to push for some real action on climate change at local government level, when we put forward the climate emergency motion in 2019.”
Cllr Francis claimed the locations of much-loved landmarks such as the Herd Groyne and The Customs House made them vulnerable to rising sea levels, as well as planned developments such as the Glasshouse site at Mill Dam.
"Local and National governments the world over have a role to play in tackling the climate crisis,” he said.
"On a local level, we also need a clear strategy in place to ensure that there is adequate mitigation in place to protect our communities from rising sea levels if those in power fail to act with the urgency that the climate crisis demands.”
South Tyneside Council has secured £6.4million in funding to help implement the local authority’s Flood and Resilience Innovation Programme, which will involve the installation of flood risk mitigation measures at strategic points across the borough, as well as the restoration and monitoring of sub-tidal habitats like kelp beds, oyster reefs and sea grass.
The potential flood protection sites are currently in the process of being assessed.
Cllr Francis’ comments come as the Government’s climate credentials become subject to increased scrutiny in the run-up to the COP26 summit, due to be held this November in Glasgow.
A number of civil society and environmental campaign groups – including Extinction Rebellion, which is staging a number series of fresh demonstrations – are looking to ensure Boris Johnson’s Government feels the heat ahead of the crucial UN summit.
Political representatives in South Tyneside say they are in kind taking steps to respond to the scale and rate of climate breakdown.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report for 2021, published earlier this month, found the planet was heading towards irreversible climate tipping points.
Kate Osborne, the MP for Jarrow, last week launched the ‘Crusade against Climate Change’ campaign which aims to “work towards a greener, more sustainable future” by working with the “next generation” across her South Tyneside and Gateshead constituency.
Ms Osborne said the challenges posed by climate change represented the single greatest threat facing the world at present.
“Any risks of flooding to South Tyneside and the surrounding area at any time in the future as a result of climate change is a cause of great concern.
“Climate Change is undoubtedly the greatest threat to humanity across the world,” she said.
“That is why earlier this week I was delighted to launch my ‘Crusade Against Climate Change’ campaign where I will be contacting all schools across the Jarrow constituency to gather ideas from pupils to see how we can work towards a greener, more sustainable future.
“I want to know what school-age children from the Jarrow Constituency expect the Government to be doing to combat climate change.”
The Jarrow MP underlined that the costs of the drive towards decarbonisation should be borne by those with the broadest shoulders, along with the biggest polluters in the corporate sector.
But she also pointed out that individual lifestyle changes can also play their part in tackling climate change, encouraging constituents to do their bit.
She said: “Big businesses are the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, but I strongly feel that we can all take steps as individuals to affect change.
"If we take these individual steps collectively, we can considerably reduce our impact on the environment.”
A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “Although, no specific council delivery targets have been set by the Government as yet, as a council we declared a climate emergency in 2019 and have pledged to take all necessary steps to become a carbon neutral council by 2030.
“We also set ourselves an ambitious three-year challenge to cut CO2 emissions by 4,285 tonnes by March 2023 and we are already two thirds of the way towards achieving that figure.
“We continue to champion a carbon neutral future for the borough, with our climate change ambitions embedded across all council activity and a key consideration in our decision-making."