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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 05:13 GMT
Rising sea 'a threat to Causeway'
Giant's Causeway - pic Jamie Addis
Waves could swamp the Giant's Causeway, the Trust is warning
Rising sea levels and stormy weather may damage the Giant's Causeway and other coastal areas of Northern Ireland, the National Trust has warned.

A new Trust report says sea level rises of up to a metre this century will affect some of Northern Ireland's most important tourist and wildlife areas.

Areas such as Strangford Lough could also be badly affected, says the Trust.

The Giant's Causeway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland, and is a World Heritage Site.

The National Trust report warned access to the site would become more difficult, with problems as early as 2020.

It also warned that rising sea levels in Strangford Lough could hit wildlife such as Brent geese and that the Murlough National Nature Reserve could see coastal erosion and flooding.

GIANT'S CAUSEWAY
Made up of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns
Causeway is result of ancient volcanic eruption
Located on the north-east coast of Northern Ireland
The 'discovery' of Causeway announced in a paper to the Royal Society in 1693

Brent geese come each winter to graze the eel grass on Strangford's mud flats but the population could be seriously threatened by climate change.

It could be affected by a 25cm rise in sea levels by 2050, the Trust is warning.

The report, Shifting Shores: Living with a Changing Coastline, predicted sea level rises of between 85 and 100cm by 2100.

Hilary McGrady, National Trust director for Northern Ireland, said it was essential for more detailed coastal data.

"Our planning system, and in particular development plans and planning policy statements, must take predicted coastal change into account," she said.



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