August 28, 2008

Tide Threatens Wildlife Haven

RISING sea levels along the North East coast are threatening tourism and valuable wildlife, a report has revealed.

The Farne Islands, off Northumberland, have been identified as among 10 coastal landmarks owned by the National Trust which could suffer because of erosion and rising swells.

The 30 islands are an important haven for wildlife and are home to 55,674 pairs of puffins, 20 species of seabird and colonies of grey seals.

They are also a world-renowned tourist attraction.

But a report for the National Trust says that with increased storms predicted over the next 40 years, it may be harder for visitors to get to the islands.

Bad weather could make it impossible to cross the short expanse of sea, and increasing sea levels could wash away the quays.

Officials fear storms could also wash away many of the chicks that nest there.

Phil Dyke, coast and marine advisor to the trust, said: "We need to realise that our environment is not fixed and that change is inevitable."

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