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Flood threat to properties could increase four-fold, says report

Four times as many households and businesses in England could be at risk of flooding in the next 20 years if further steps are not taken to prepare for climate change, says a new report published today by the Government’s advisers on climate change adaptation.

The report, prepared by the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change, advises than increasing investment and ensuring more careful planning of new housing in the floodplain can reduce the risk of flooding by almost four times what it would have been in 2035 without action.

It also indicates that water scarcity is likely to become more common in some parts of the country in the future due to the combined effects of climate change and population growth. This is likely to be exacerbated by levels of household water consumption that are among the highest in north west Europe.

Encouraging households to save water could reduce total consumption by 700M.l per day, two-thirds more than current efforts by water companies, according to the new report by the Sub-Committee. A faster pace of reduction in water use is needed including through increased metering (in higher risk areas) and water efficiency measures.

Recommendations to the Government as it prepares its National Adaptation Programme

  • More transparent and careful planning of new development in flood risk areas by local authorities, taking account of long-term costs of flooding.
  • Increasing investment in flood defences (from public or private sources) or finding other ways to deal with increased flooding risk.
  • Encouraging greater use of property protection measures and sustainable drainage systems to cope with flash-flooding.
  • Further steps to increase efficiency of water use by households through water metering and pricing.


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