Newport is a city whose identity is born out of its relationship with the water. As the years have shown, this can be a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, the water has been Newport’s gateway to the world for centuries, with the Severn Estuary opening the city up to trade across the globe.
On the other, the city has seen some of the worst floods in the history of Wales. During one flood alone, in 1607, over 2,000 people drowned when the Bristol Channel swept across the Gwent Levels.
Unfortunately, Newport’s position also makes it vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Over the next few decades, as sea levels start to rise, the city’s low-lying position near water could see much of it flood if extreme measures aren’t taken.
Climate Central is an independent organisation of leading scientists and journalists who research and report the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the public.
Its map shows the areas in Wales projected to be below sea level in 2050 and are therefore at risk of flooding.
This is based on:
Here is Climate Central’s map, showing the areas of Newport and Cardiff predicted to be below sea level by 2050
With such vast swathes of the city predicted to be below sea level in 30 years’ time, here are some of the buildings that could potentially be lost to flooding.
Roman Amphitheatre, Caerleon
A large chunk of ancient Caerleon could be underwater by 2050, including its most famous landmark, the Roman Amphitheatre. Dating back to 90AD, the amphitheatre saw severe flooding back in February this year.
The map also shows large swathes of the area around low-lying Coedkernow and Duffryn as being underwater by 2050. This includes one of Wales’ most famous manor houses – the 17th century Tredegar House.
Newport Castle, famous for being attacked by Owain Glyndwr, sits directly on the bank of the River Usk and dates back to the 14th century.
Another one close to the Usk, Rodney Parade could be under water in 30 years.
Cenotaph, Clarence Place
If Climate Central’s predictions are correct, the whole of Clarence Place could be underwater by 2050.
Old Arts College, Clarence Place
This would see iconic structures like the cenotaph and the old arts college, among others, affected.
East Usk Lighthouse, RSPB Wetlands
In the low-lying Gwent Levels, the East Usk Lighthouse is another structure particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels – as is the RSPB nature reserve it is situated in.
Newport Masonic Hall
This Grade-II listed building, dating back to the late 18th century, sits at the heart of Lower Dock Street – another area completely in red on the map.
The Riverfront Theatre
As its name suggests, The Riverfront theatre sits on the west bank of the Usk. With most of Usk Way projected to be underwater by 2050, this would be one of the major buildings affected.
Newport Central Mosque
The central mosque is just one of the many buildings in this part of Pill we could have listed – the whole of Commercial Road could be underwater by 2050 according to the projected flood map.
Newport International Sports Village
The world-famous sports village, including the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome, is another area predicted to be below sea level by 2050 – along with most of Lliswerry.
Newport Medieval Ship
Recovered from the banks of the River Usk back in 2002, there is a horrible irony to the possibility that the Newport medieval ship could be lost to the waters once more. But Climate Central’s predictions show this could happen – with the medieval ship museum, also in Lliswerry, firmly located in the red section of its map.
Luckily, at a height of 54 metres, the bulk of the Transporter Bridge would safe and sound above the predicted five metre increase in sea levels by 2050. However, the visitor centre (which is currently undergoing renovation) may not be so lucky if Climate Central’s projections prove to be anywhere near correct.