Climate change and the historic environment of Wales

The CCRI, along with the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, and the Centre for Environmental Change and Quaternary Research at the University of Gloucestershire were asked to explore the direct impacts of climate change on the historic environment of Wales.

In 2012, a report on a strategic approach for assessing and addressing the potential impact of climate change on the historic environment of Wales was produced for the Historic Environment Group, which advises Welsh Ministers. The report has been approved by both the Minister for Culture and Sport and the Minister for the Natural Resources and Food.

The report suggests it is likely that the historic asset most affected by climate change will be historic landscapes.  Four climate change scenarios were examined: warmer mean temperatures, hotter drier summers, warmer wetter winters/wetter summers, and, more frequent extreme weather – all were identified as having an overall adverse impact.  A series of potential impacts were identified and assessed as being of moderate significance: cumulatively these are of high significance.  Historic assets (including historic buildings, historic settlements, archaeological sites and landscapes) lying below the one metre contour are assessed as being at significant risk from rising sea levels coupled with more frequent storm surges.  Parts of many of Wales’ urban areas lie in this zone, and thus the potential damage and loss, not just to individual historic elements, but also to the overall historic character could be considerable.