Coastal erosion makes headlines in the South West: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-dorset-56749836
Innovation and natural flood risk management solutions will be key to ensuring communities are resilient to the effects of climate change: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/innovative-projects-to-protect-against-flooding-selected
Innovative projects to protect against flooding selected
Cutting-edge flood forecasting and natural flood management schemes trialled in 25 selected areas receiving a share of £150m to develop new flooding responses.
Cornwall – Designating and protecting sand dunes on the Cornish Coast to protect coastal settlements and economies from coastal erosion and sea level rise. Six sites will be selected to deliver planting, saltmarsh restoration, protection of community infrastructure and support to SMEs, with learning transferred across the country.
Devon – This project is focusing on catchments where there are significant risks from localised surface water flooding. The project will take a ‘catchment-wide’ approach to identify and implement nature-based solutions and sustainable drainage to help communities across Devon and Cornwall including collaboration with the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks.
City of Bristol – The Frome Catchment Innovation Programme will use a mix of flood resilience measures that mirror the rural to city nature of the Frome catchment. This project will deliver restoration of the River Frome through the Yate Masterplan and Frome Gateway regeneration initiative.
One of the biggest consequences of our changing climate is the increased risk of flooding. More extreme weather along with sea level rise will likely lead to more frequent and severe coastal, fluvial, surface water and groundwater flooding events.
Partnership working and collaboration between the Environment Agency, Lead Local Flood Authorities, Drainage Bodies, Highways Authorities, Statutory Undertakers and other key stakeholders will be crucial to overcoming and adapting to these increased risks and threats.
As a sector we have moved away from ‘flood defence’ to a focus on ‘flood risk management’. The challenge now is to develop longer term strategic solutions which include catchment wide, holistic measures rather than hard defences at point of threat.
In locations that remain at risk of flooding now, or in the future, we need to work collaboratively with the communities and stakeholders to ensure they are adaptable and resilient to the future pressures of climate change.
In March 2020 the Government announced that it will be doubling its capital spending on flood defences from £2.6bn for 2015-2021 to £5.2bn for 2021-2027. The Government has made this announcement to better protect 336,000 properties from flooding. According to Environment Agency modelling this investment will reduce national flood risk by up to 11% by 2027.
Historical urbanisation and development within the floodplain has exacerbated flood risk in some areas. However, whilst future development could increase this risk, it also has the potential to provide additional funding sources, wider outcomes and benefits as well as innovative solutions.