As a flat country with thousands of kilometres of coastline and countless islands, Denmark is particularly vulnerable when seawater and groundwater rise as a result of climate change.
Foreseeing an escalation in extreme weather conditions, the Danish Government seeks to help municipalities and landowners boost local efforts as part of the Climate Adaptation Plan 1.
With a total of EUR 174m (DKK 1.3 bn), the proposed plan aims at fast-tracking initiatives to secure Danish coasts, cities, homes, and infrastructure against rising sea levels and future storms:
“We have just witnessed violent images from large parts of Denmark, where a storm surge has washed over us from the east. Several places with water levels at the height of 100-year events. Dikes have collapsed and houses, shops, and roads have been washed away or flooded. It is essential that we protect ourselves better against the bodies of water, and it is precisely this task that we are now tackling with Climate Adaptation Plan 1. We do so by addressing the structural problems for which the municipalities have called for a solution, and then we accelerate projects that protect Denmark against flooding,” Magnus Heunicke, the Danish Minister for the Environment
Amongst others, the Danish Government’s proposed plan for climate adaptation includes:
State involvement in exposed areas by the sea
Across the country, municipalities are taking steps to protect against flooding from the sea. In other places, a long road remains ahead.
The state must, therefore, help with coastal protection in six of the areas where damage costs are greatest and threat levels are highest.
The state will offer professional help to the municipalities by i.e., choosing a technical solution, drawing up a payment model, financial calculations, or environmental assessments, depending on how far the municipalities are in the project phases and what they need assistance with.
A solution to the challenges of high groundwater levels
The groundwater table has risen by up to one meter over the past 30 years.
Today, approximately 450,000 homes have less than one meter to the groundwater table for most of the year.
As something new, the Danish Government will provide municipalities the responsibility for handling high-level groundwater and enable wastewater companies to create collective solutions in areas where it pays off for society.
It is a solution that both municipalities and wastewater companies have called for, and which will help vulnerable landowners.
Increase of the coastal protection fund
To speed up climate adaptation, the Danish Government will increase its coastal protection fund in 2024 by EUR 20m (DKK 150m). The municipalities can apply for joint coastal protection projects throughout the country and the establishment or strengthening of dykes in the Wadden Sea.
Protection of Denmark’s west coast
The Danish west coast is particularly exposed to flooding, coastal retreat, and erosion.
More than EUR 133m (DKK 1bn) have been proposed to be set aside to protect the west coast through beach nourishment and investments in critical facilities on the Danish west coast.