If nothing is done about it, then Skanör-Falsterbo might drown when climate changes force the sea level to rise. Both Vellinge as well as other coastal municipalities in southern Sweden, want the state to establish a level for how much the sea will be allowed to rise. But the government says no. Vellinge municipality is looking for new laws to protect not only nature but also buildings and houses from environmental changes. There are 20 000 people living on the spit of Falsterbo, add to that another 10 000 during summer. The ratable value of these people’s homes amounts to 65 billion SEK ($9.9 billion). Most of it gets under the water when the sea levels rise. “But we will have to protect our inhabitants and their homes with all means,” says Hans Folkesson, director or Vellinge city planning. People on the Falsterbo spit have fought floodings in all times, tough storms and lots of rain can make the nearby sea rise.
“Five years ago, the sea levels rose to 1.40 meters (4.5 feet),” says Folkesson. “And during the 19th century it rose two meters (6.5 feet) during a hurricane.” When changes in the climate puts pressure on the normal water-level, increasing it with one meter (3.2 feet), then the Falsterbo spit must be ready for a three meter (9.8 feet) rise. Continues Folkesson: “We want to use soft and natural protections such as earth-style ramparts and to fill the beaches with more sand. That works great in Holland but the county administrative board doesn’t think it would work in Skåne. It would have been easier for us to get permission to build new houses, if we hade a concrete wall against the water.” The question has caught attention again as the municipality plans to build 450 new homes out on the spit, some of those are already built, but the county administrative board has put a stop on the next phase saying: “There’s risk that these houses are are unsuitable because of the risk of flooding. The municipality has to show a technically and financially sound solution for a long-term protection of Falsterbo.” Folkesson believes that’s just what they’ve been doing and adds: “If the county administrative board doesn’t believe we can protect these new homes, they must also not believe that we can protect those that are already here. And if they (the country administrative board) and thus also the state feel that people in Skanör-Falsterbo ought to leave their homes, then they should just say so.”