At least £1bn a year needed to protect UK from floods | UK News
At least £1 billion a year needs to be spent on traditional flood and coastal defences as the threat of climate change looms, the environment agency (EA) has said.
Homes in risk areas need to be redesigned to cope with floods, including raised electrics and hard flooring, while some communities may have to be relocated entirely.
The EA predicts that climate change and population growth will double the number of properties built on the flood plain over the next five decades. .
EA chairwoman Emma Howard Boyd warned “we cannot win a war against water” by building higher and higher flood defences and that resilience-measures need to be rolled out.
The warning comes as the government agency publishes its long-term strategy for managing floods and coastal erosion.
The report plots how the UK would cope with up to 4C of warming. This is well beyond the 1.5C or 2C limits agreed internationally and which are seen as the point dangerous climate change will occur.
It said an average annual investment of £1bn will be needed over the next 50 years in England for traditional defences such as barriers and sea walls. It suggested this could be partially public and part private-funded.
Without more investment, flood damage in England will significantly increase, the strategy lays out.
Measures that could be rolled out include temporary barriers, natural flood management schemes (such as planting trees to slow the flow of rivers) and sustainable drainage systems with ponds and areas where water can soak away into the ground.
These measures would also be beneficial for the environment and local wildlife.
The agency also speaks of building a nation of “climate champions” by educating youngsters about the risks of floods.
Launching the strategy at Brunel University in London, Ms Howard Boyd said: “The coastline has never stayed in the same place and there have always been floods, but climate change is increasing and accelerating these threats.
“We can’t win a war against water by building away climate change with infinitely high flood defences.
“We need to develop consistent standards for flood and coastal resilience in England that help communities better understand their risk and give them more control about how to adapt and respond.”
Lord Deben, the chairman of the committee on climate change, said: “Everyone can see climate change accelerating. The UK urgently needs to stay ahead of worsening impacts by adapting.”