Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Defra research into mitigating urban flooding

In October I asked a senior governmental advisor what strategy the government had in place to tackle rising sea levels and the increasing risk of extreme wet weather conditions. His response did not cheer me. Thus, it is with some sense of relief that I read today that Defra has just launched a new series of projects designed to investigate ways in which to reduce the impacts of urban flooding in England. The fifteen studies will help to identify areas most at risk, along with the causes and management options available to reduce the threat.

The problem of urban flooding currently costs the national economy an average of £270m every year, with an estimate increase of up to £15bn by 2080 as conditions worsen.

“Adapting to the impacts of climate change is vital if we are to manage the risks of flooding and coastal erosion. We can’t ignore the consequences which is why we need to start adapting now,” said Ian Pearson, Minister for Climate Change and Environment. “The issue of urban drainage flooding is of growing concern to towns and cities across England. Many homes and businesses have already suffered from the devastating impacts. But climate change will make the problem of urban flooding more serious because of the increased likelihood of more intense and frequent rain storms.”

“These 15 pilot studies will test new approaches to reduce the future impact of urban drainage flooding on people’s lives.”

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