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.