Safety against flooding | Compendium Coast and Sea

Safety against flooding

In the 20th century, the average annual sea level increase was 1.7 mm. Currently, the annual sea level increase amounts to 3.4 mm per year (global average), and thus exceeds the sustainability goal of a maximum increase of 2 cm each decennium. In Ostend the trend line increased by 129 mm between 1951 and 2017. Low-lying coastal areas such as in the Netherlands and Belgium are facing increasing flood risks. Moreover, the Belgian coast has the highest proportion of built-up area of all European coasts: in 2000, more than 30% of the coastal strip of 10 km wide was built-up area. This figure amounted to 50% of the coastal area when considering the first kilometer inland of the coastline. An analysis of the Flemish sea barrier in 2007 and 2008 revealed that about one third of the coast and coastal ports need additional protection against the impact of super storms. The Masterplan Coastal Safety defines the measures required for a sufficient protection of the coastline, coastal harbours and the adjacent low-lying polders against super storms by 2050. In December 2017 the Government of Flanders intitiated the Complex Project Coastal Vision to develop a long-term approach for the protection of the Flemish coast. In the ‘Thematic chapter’, an overview is given of the scientific knowledge, socioeconomic data and legal aspects of the user function ‘Safety against flooding’ for the Belgian coastal area. The European legislation applicable to this activity is discussed in more detail under ‘Legislation’ while the figures and background data can be consulted in an interactive way by clicking ‘Coastal portal’. More information about the available expertise regarding safety against flooding within the Belgian marine research groups and their relevant research infrastructure can be consulted by clicking ‘Research groups’ and ‘Infrastructure’, respectively.