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Climate change flood risk to UK infrastructure

Flood 3x2

A new report from Newcastle University has warned that the UK’s infrastructure is at risk from severe weather due to climate change.

Floods pose the most significant risk to the UK’s infrastructure, according to the new report from Newcastle University that has assessed the potential impact from climate change.

The findings set out in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report suggest that better information sharing may help the country to tackle issues related to severe weather.

Richard Dawson, chair of Earth System Engineering at Newcastle University, led the infrastructure element in the report. He said: “A greater flood risk means greater potential for disruption to our power stations, road and rail network, communications, and our waste infrastructure – all the services that underpin a modern economy.

“We’ve already seen the kind of significant impact flooding can cause and unless action is taken, the UK’s infrastructure will become increasingly susceptible to extreme weather events.”

River, surface, groundwater flooding and coastal erosion are all highlighted as potential threats. The report said that infrastructure exposed to flooding could double by the late 2080s.

“We don’t currently understand enough about the connections and dependencies between different sectors to be able to fully prioritise and protect key services,” added Dawson.

In light of the findings, he has suggested that a national framework is needed to coordinate infrastructure protection. 

Whether or not that happens will have to wait until early 2017 when Parliament reveals an assessment covering risks and opportunities posed by climate change.



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