The Environment Agency’s (EA) Chair, Emma Howard Boyd, speaking recently about current trends said, global temperatures could rise between 2°C and 4°C by 2100 and that this would mean spending at least £1bn a year on flood management.
As alarmist as this figure might sound, the EA bases this sum on hard facts and made the comments in support of the launch of the consultation on the agency’s flood strategy that government policy should ensure that all publicly funded infrastructure is resilient to flooding and coastal change by 2050.
Against this backdrop, it would be easy to view flood protection as simply a matter of building away the effects of climate change with ever-increasingly high flood defences, but flood protection is more than this. It requires the involvement of all stakeholders from local authorities and the EA through to builders and developers, and even at a more local level, residents too should be taking a collaborative approach to both prevention and protection. Coming up with an affordable, long-term cost-effective solution that diminishes or mitigates flood risk takes research, planning and the collective will of all stakeholders to solve the problem long-term.
Climate change is real, and will despite all the best efforts of government, corporates and individuals, continue to impact the UK through an ever-increasing risk of flooding. Slashing carbon emissions is obviously a priority and must continue, but for the immediate future, mitigating flood risk is the only real option available and that means tackling the problem holistically through a combination of engineered flood solutions, natural flood management steps, as well as a more intelligent approach to building and construction.
Author: Ray Moulds, Managing Director, IBS Engineered Products