Exclusive: Storms, flooding and heatwaves could severely impact the city by 2050, an in-depth study reveals
Severin CarrellLast modified on Wed 31 Oct 2018 19.40 GMT
Vital roads, bridges, rail lines and hospitals in the Glasgow area are at significant risk of being damaged or closed by climate change, a major study has found.
The study, thought to be the most in-depth carried out for any city region in the UK, said that by 2050 the area will be hit by far more powerful storms, by regular heatwaves and by heavy winter flooding, affecting up to 1.8 million people.
That could see hospitals struggling to cope with abnormal temperatures or flooding, long stretches of motorway closed by floods, the West Highland line at risk of closure from coastal erosion and bridges at greater risk from gale-force winds.
The review by Climate Ready Clyde, a coalition of six councils, transport agencies, universities and government agencies, covers an area of about 3,400 km2 (1,300 sq miles) and includes major towns such as Hamilton, Motherwell, East Kilbride and Paisley. It was published on Wednesday to mark UN World Cities day.
With findings likely to be replicated across the UK, it has warned that failing to adapt and prepare for climate change could cost the Glasgow region several hundred million pounds a year by the 2050s from storm, flooding and heatwave impacts.
In a new five-year plan for the region, the group will recommend including better physical and natural flood defences, more air conditioning and ventilation systems, greater tree cover and greater use of green roofs, and wind barriers on bridges. Some councils could seek new powers to issue their own bonds, to raise money from investors to cover the extra costs.
If coastal erosion accelerates, several hundred metres of the West Highland line to Fort William will be threatened by the sea along the north Clyde coastline near Ardmore Point, Cardross and Dumbarton. Long stretches of coast have already been eroded significantly.