Omø's dikes - An example of financing climate proofing initiatives
KommuneKredit provides financing for climate investments and coastal protection projects. As long as projects fall within the framework of the applicable legislation, municipalities, utility companies and dike guilds may apply for loans. municipalities may decide to raise loans themselves or provide a municipal guarantee for the dike guild’s loans
On 2 November 2006, the inhabitants on the Danish island of Omø woke up to an island almost divided into halves by flooding. The ferry had blown ashore, and 24 private homes and 14 holiday homes in Kirkehavn were flooded. At its highest level, the water reached 1.80 metres above average, and it was absolutely clear that the island needed coastal and climate proofing of quite a different calibre. Omø dike guild (Omø Digelag) was established and began what turned out to be a long, tough haul to protect the island against flooding.
A general classification of Omø as a ‘valuable geological area’ and a beach meadow protected by Natura 2000 meant that flora and fauna had to be given special consideration. For example, vinyl sheet piling had to be used in the beach meadow instead of earth walls to avoid taking up too much of the protected area. Thus, landowners’ costs increased slowly but surely, and the project was on the verge of collapse. In 2010, the dike guild succeeded in obtaining just over DKK 5 million under the finance bill, and combined with LAG funds (Local Action Group subsidy scheme under the Nature Business Authority) and a municipal guarantee provided by the Municipality of Slagelse, the first steps were taken to construct coastal and climate protection on Omø in 2013.
Omø’s new dikes are designed to resist flooding similar to the 2006 level plus an additional expected sea-level rise of 0.5 centimetre annually over the next 50 years. The dikes integrate well with the natural beauty of the area and are constructed of Azobé wood, clay and stone, where possible, and the rest of vinyl sheet piling. They cater for fauna with ‘passages’ for amphibians and small animals as well as for visitors with integrated recreational areas, such as a playground, a volleyball court and small shelter spots. A project which creates value, not only in relation to coastal and climate proofing, but also for fauna, islanders and visitors.