Stumbling around trying to pick up leaves and debris strewn from my garden in the wake of Storm Ali and the winds of Storm Bronagh, one could be forgiven for already being concerned about Callum, Deidre, Erik, Freya, Gareth….and God knows who/what else will head our way in the coming months.
Fife tends to escape the worst of the weather extremes to hit Scotland’s shores, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare properly.
Indeed, you only need to look back at March’s Beast from the East to realise we can be in line to take a direct hit from stormy weather – yet not be fully ready for when it strikes.
I don’t particularly care what the skeptics, deniers and doubters say, the evidence that more powerful storms could hit Britain because of climate change is overwhelming.
It feels like the weather is getting more extreme. Experts tell us it’s unusual but not unprecedented.
However, on the basis that most people think it wise to take a brolly in case it rains, I’d rather be dry than a soggy mess after exposure to the elements.
Perhaps the appropriate authorities and agencies in Fife should redouble their efforts when it comes to weather-proofing the region.
I’m not talking about salt stockpiles or anything like that, as the investment that’s gone in there tends to be adequate.
What I’m alluding to is the effect the undeniable climate change is having on our coastal assets here in Fife, and the very real threat wetter and windier winters and coastal erosion poses to the Kingdom.
A study into golf courses in Scotland alone, where one in six are on the coast, suggested many could be under water within a matter of decades if rising sea levels, and Fife certainly has more than its fair share.
But when you see large swathes of the Fife Coastal Path eroded following storms, the famous sand dunes at St Andrews West Sands suffering damage in recent years, the historic pier at Lower Largo crumbling away before our eyes, and our rail infrastructure effectively grind to a halt when we’re left to the mercy of Mother Nature, then you wonder if more should be done to try and manage weather effects – and in particular inevitable coastal change – before its too late.
It’s not impossible. The wind shields on the Queensferry Crossing which kept it open to cars even during the highest gusts last week is a prime example of how to future-proof our infrastructure.