Climate Action

Environment Agency warns flood threat may force UK communities to abandon homes

An increased risk of flooding from climate change may force UK communities to abandon homes.

  • 09 May 2019
  • Rachel Cooper

An increased risk of flooding from climate change may force UK communities to abandon homes.

The Environment Agency has called for a consultation to review the process of flood protection for coastal areas after new evidence shows climate change is increasing the risk of losing homes in UK towns.

The new consultation will run for 8 weeks and aims to develop new standards of flood resilience for communities in the UK.

In preparing for a predicted 4 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures, the EA has warned that potentially they will have to move communities “out of harm’s way” in the long term.

The EA will provide £1 billion a year to fund traditional flood and coastal defences. This comes after the National Audit Office reported that for every £1 spent on protecting communities, around £9 in property damages and wider impacts is avoided.

Emma Howard Boyd, EA Chair, said: “We can’t win a war against water by building away climate change with infinitely high flood defences. We need to develop consistent standards for flood and coastal resilience in England that help communities better understand their risk and give them more control about how to adapt and respond.”

The new strategy recommends that as global population rises and more properties are built on the flood plain, between now and 2030, these new homes need to resilient to flooding and coastal change.

The Environment Agency also say that all new development must not only be resilient to flooding but should also contribute to an environmental net gain.

Last week, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) released a report which called for the UK to be net zero by 2050.

Lord Deben, Chairman of the CCC, said: “Everyone can see climate change accelerating. The UK urgently needs to stay ahead of worsening impacts by adapting. The Environment Agency is doing just that by setting out their flood strategy but we won’t be able to keep up with the pace of change if we don’t reduce emissions to zero. The Committee on Climate Change’s net zero report shows how to do that.”