People need to be educated about the impacts of climate change and manage their expectations as to what can be achieved, according to Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (Ciwem) interim chief executive Nigel Hendley.
“If we do not manage the risks of flooding and coastal erosion in a sustainable way, there will be continued loss of life and property, extensive damage to the UK economy, and ongoing misery for millions of people,” he said.
“However, it is clear many people believe that flooding can be prevented and coastal erosion can be stopped. This is not realistic and it is crucial that we educate everyone.”
Hendley made the call as part of a Ciwem statement on the need for a long-term, coordinated approach to the planning, building and maintaining of flood protection which it has set out in its new Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM).
According to Ciwem, regular extreme weather events in recent years and the resulting surface, river and coastal floods have shown that serious priority needs to be given to both planning and funding for flood management.
The organisation’s policy statement on flood and coastal erosion risk management calls for the strengthening of existing partnerships and for an adaptive and flexible approach to flood and coastal management. “This should recognise the importance of spending on actions such as emergency planning and response, forecasting and warning services, and flood and coastal erosion risk mapping, modelling and risk assessment,” said the statement.
“The maintenance of flood and coastal infrastructure needs to be given greater recognition by the government in order to prolong the life of existing flood and coastal management infrastructure.”