December 8, 2021

Climate Change News

Saving The Planet

Rapid floods will be more frequent as the climate crisis worsens, scientists say Flood

Rapid floods of the type seen in London this weekend will become more frequent as the climate crisis worsens, scientists have warned, and the UK government, businesses and homeowners need to do much more to protect yourself from future damage.

Jess Neumann, a hydrologist at the University of Reading, said: “Floods due to heavy summer rainfall will happen more often. No city, town or village is immune to floods and we all need to act hard right now if we want to prevent the impacts from getting worse in the future. “

Climate policy in the UK has focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is a major concern, to reduce the human impact on the climate and ensure that global warming does not reach catastrophic levels. But the government has also been warned frequently that urgent measures are needed to deal with the impacts of the extreme climate and that the UK has lagged behind in these adaptive measures.

Adaptation to impacts will require a thorough overhaul of UK infrastructure, including not only drainage and water supply systems, nor transport, to ensure that they do not overflow, as many in London went through. of the week, but also the power supply and communications networks.

Buildings will need to be redesigned and public areas renovated to include better drainage channels and storm drains, while more innovative approaches could include porous pavements. The lack of green spaces and vegetation, and the paving of many areas without attention to the risk of flooding, has exacerbated the problem in many cities, including London, and should also be addressed, experts warned.

Neumann said: “Planning and development must take into account the risk of flooding from all sources (river floods, groundwater and flooding) and adapt accordingly. It is not acceptable to continue paving the ground and expect the the public will treat the water when it enters their home. “

One problem is that the responsibility for flood protection in the UK is divided among many authorities, with little central oversight. Liz Stephens, an associate professor of climate resilience at the University of Reading, said: “The UK still has a complicated set of roles and responsibilities with regard to the risk of surface water flooding. Local flood authorities the principals take responsibility for managing it, the Environment Agency for mapping it and the Met office for providing early warnings. This makes it possible for the public to fully understand their own risk and what can be done. “

He said even basic data was missing, caused by the refusal to invest in more accurate research. “Surface water flood hazard maps in the UK have not been improved since 2013. They need to be updated urgently. The current accuracy of surface water flood maps reflects an investment option and not what is possible with state-of-the-art science, ”he said.

“It is difficult to help people prepare for surface water floods if they do not know they are at risk and if they do not receive accurate warnings of possible impacts when heavy rain is forecast.”

Parliament’s public accounts committee warned earlier this year that the government was not doing enough to prevent flood damage and said town halls and local authorities needed much more help, including more money.

Meg Hillier, chair of the committee and MP for London, told The Guardian that the flooding over the weekend highlighted the government’s inaction. “This latest flood highlights the committee’s concerns about the resources available for floods that are becoming more frequent,” he said. “Rapid floods due to torrential rain are wreaking havoc on those affected, and yet the lack of resources for municipalities, which are responsible for mitigating urban floods, makes it difficult for businesses and households to respond.”

Councilor Darren Rodwell, environmental spokesperson for the Association of Local Governments, which represents town halls, echoed his call: “Town halls are better placed to ensure that money for flood defense is target projects that best reflect local needs, including the protection of key roads and bridges to keep local residents and businesses moving – funding for flood defenses in local areas and including them within a new national framework. to deal with the climate emergency. ”

Insurers are among the most concerned about the impacts of climate rupture and have warned that UK households and businesses in some areas could find themselves uninsurable if stronger measures are not taken.

Adam Winslow, chief executive of Aviva General Insurance, said: “It’s too late to prevent the effects of climate change, but we can reduce the impact it will have on our lives. We need to act now to improve regulation on where and how the properties are built, encourage the use of resistant materials and consider natural and innovative solutions to climate change ”.

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