Climate change is reshaping our environment, bringing more extreme weather events and, notably, increasing the risk of floods in the UK.
A report sponsored by the National Trust reveals that the UK is significantly underprepared for the looming threat, emphasising the urgent need for organisations and property owners to bolster their resilience against flooding.
The Rising Threat
Climate change is expected to intensify the frequency and magnitude of flooding events. The UK Government has labeled the potential impact of flood risks on people, infrastructure, the environment, and the economy as ‘significant’. This is alarming, considering that surface water flooding poses the greatest threat to homes and organisations, followed by rivers, the sea, and groundwater.
- By 2050, annual damages from flooding for non-residential properties are expected to increase by 27% and 40% by 2080 in a 2°C warming scenario.
- In a 4°C warming scenario, damages increase to 44% by 2050 and 75% by 2080.
- Winter rainfall is projected to increase by approximately 6% by the 2050s and by 8% by the 2080s.
- Summer rainfall is expected to decrease by approximately 15% by the 2050s.
- Despite overall summer drying trends, the intensity of heavy summer rainfall events is expected to increase.
The Need for Proactive Measures
The projections underscore the importance of proactive measures. Relying on post-flood actions and clean-ups is no longer viable. The call from the Environment Agency is clear: “adapt or die”. It is imperative for society and organisations to invest in adaptation and preparation to mitigate the costs and impacts of flooding.
Building resilience starts with conducting a flood risk assessment to determine the hasard, exposure, and control measures suitable for a specific location. A comprehensive approach to flood risk management involves preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery.
- Flood Defences: Erecting barriers to prevent floodwaters from entering properties.
- Resilient Design: Constructing properties that can withstand flood impacts and recover quickly.
- Natural Flood Management: Utilising natural processes to reduce the risk of flooding.
- Maintenance and Training: Regular upkeep of properties and educating occupants on flood risks and responses.
- Warning Systems and Response Plans: Implementing early warning systems and having a clear response plan in place.
Climate change is escalating the risk of flooding, and the UK is currently underprepared to face this challenge. Property and business owners must prioritise building flood resilience to protect people, assets, and the environment. By adopting a comprehensive approach to flood risk management, including risk assessments and a combination of mitigation and adaptation solutions, we can safeguard our properties and communities against the rising tide of climate change.
Review your resilience and start implementing flood protection measures to secure your property and business against the increasing risks. Stay informed, stay prepared, and let’s build a safer, more resilient future together.