Published in: DEFRA, 26 January 2012
The risks of flooding are projected to increase significantly in the UK – making it possibly the worst climate change threat facing the UK, according to a new Government environmental study.
DEFRA today published its The Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), a groundbreaking study looking at the top 100 challenges to the UK and our economy of a changing climate. It also announced a National Adaptation Programme that will prepare the UK for the effects of climate change, including the risks set out in the CCRA.
Among the greatest impacts of climate change, the risks of flooding are projected to increase significantly across the UK, says the report.
“If you had to pick one particular issue I think the flooding issue is the most dominant,” said Sir Bob Watson, chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in an analysis of the report published in today’s Guardian newspaper. He added that surface water flooding in particular would be likely to get worse.
According the DEFRA, the new analysis for England and Wales show that if no further plans were made to adapt to changing flood risks, by the 2080s due the effects of climate change and population growth, annual damages to buildings and property could reach between £2.1billion – £12billion, compared to current costs of £1.2billion.
The report also highlights the increasing pressure from climate change on the UK’s water resources. The CCRA proejects that without action to improve water resources, there could be major supply shortages by the 2050s in parts of the north, south and east of England with the greatest challenge in the Thames River basin.
The CCRA is designed to provide evidence for the National Adapation Programme to ensure the country is well prepared for climate change impacts, and the Government has been keen to point out work already already taken to address flood risk and water shortages, including new funding arrangements for flood defences, which it claims will mean more communities will benefit from flood protection.
Defra says it will work with businesses, civil society and local government to develop the UK’s first National Adaptation Programme to maintain the resilience of the UK to climate change and changing weather. It is inviting contributions and suggestions online via the following link: Developing the National Adaptation Programme – contribute online