THE Scottish home of the UK’s nuclear arsenal is amongst 100 Clydeside areas at risk from rising sea levels, a report has found.

Parts of HM Naval Base Clyde will be “inundated” as sea levels shift by almost half a metre within the next 50 years, according to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The agency’s report highlights the Faslane facility as just one area at risk as climate change takes hold in the Firth of Clyde.

The sea level is expected to rise by almost half a metre by 2080.

Areas on both sides of the river are said to be susceptible to flooding that could render roadways, sports grounds, housing and industrial premises waterlogged.

Communities at risk include those on the shorelines in Gourock, Dunoon, Largs, Helensburgh and more, with sensitive wildlife areas likely to be wiped out.

The agency said: “Major elements of coastal infrastructure could be at risk in the long term.

“These include parts of the Faslane naval base, home to the Trident nuclear weapons system, and pressure on Prestwick International Airport railway station and, potentially, the airport car park.”

SNH says action should be taken now to “avoid potential impacts”.

Planning is underway in many areas to work out methods to manage the risk.

“Managed realignment” of some waters is suggested, with more detailed work needed to ascertain whether or not rivers or estuaries should be allowed to extend beyond current flood defences.

Professor Des Thompson of SNH said: “There are risks, for sure, but there are opportunities to allow nature to help us cope with climate change. One such solution is through managed realignment of the coast.

“This allows natural features such as saltmarsh to act as coastal defence.

“This research sits alongside other collaborative work with the Scottish Government, SEPA, Historic Environment Scotland, and local councils which appraises changing risks and opportunities in the light of climate change.”

Thompson went on: “We know that rising sea levels and changing rainfall patterns and intensities are likely to increasingly affect nature and society. This work forewarns us and helps us plan for these possible changes.

“Clearly sea-level rise and its potential impacts represent a widespread issue which will affect low-lying land around the Firth of Clyde.

“These types of investigations allow us to plan together and ensure the planning system supports the right development in the right place.”

The report was managed by the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership, which takes in more than 20 agencies.

Chair Isobel Glasgow said: “Regional Marine Plans must consider potential climate change impacts and seek to adapt. In some cases natural coastal protection can provide a solution.

“It is important that land and marine planners work together on these issues to ensure that coastal and marine development is in the right place.”

HM Naval Base Clyde is home to the country’s nuclear deterrent and hunter-killer submarines.

The Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport, eight miles away, is responsible for the storage, processing, maintenance and issue of key elements of the Trident missile .

Responding to the report, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: “We closely monitor the effects of climate change on our bases and track potential risks to our infrastructure.

“A workshop on this was held at HMNB Clyde earlier this year and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Mike Cantlay, chair of SNH, commented: “We have identified more than 100 locations in the west of Scotland that may be at greater flood risk due to rising tides over the next fifty years.

“Having this advance notice allows partners to work together to address potential issues and plan ahead for ways to mitigate these risks.”