Dr Reed in his letter (NCE 26 October) cautions about findings suggesting that the 50 year flood flow in the lower reaches of large rivers such as the Thames might occur four to five times more frequently by the year 2060.
He suggested that while it is possible recent severe flooding in Sussex and Kent is an early indicator of flood risk, more research is needed to substantiate this.
In my letter earlier this year (NCE 6 January) on the accuracy in forecasting Thames Barrier closures at the end of the 20th century, I referred to Shoreline Management Plans for southern England. These highlight the inconsistency in estimating extreme flood levels and the need for an improved and integrated monitoring system as well as a research programme to identify trends caused by global warming.
Those SMPs are due for review and perhaps the recent Flooding Risks & Reactions Conference, so swiftly followed by the floods in southern England and the more recent battering of the south coast by storms, will spur those concerned into action.
Alan Allison (M) Valanem Envirnomental Management firstname.lastname@example.org