Flooding: Britain's coastal towns and villages face a design challenge to cope with climate emergency

phys.org | 7/11/2019 | Staff
mel4 (Posted by) Level 4
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As an island nation, Britain has vulnerable communities that must be prepared for the impact of the climate emergency. And while much has been said about homes at risk from the sea in coastal regions, or those inland subject to river flooding, the UK Committee on Climate Change's new progress report for 2019 has laid bare the challenge facing them.

In 2018, Hemsby on the coast of Norfolk in the east of England saw several homes dramatically lost after storm surges caused metres of the sandy cliff edge to collapse. Over the last decade, major storms left substantial areas of England badly flooded for weeks or months, such as in 2007, 2009, 2012, and the winters of 2013-14 and 2015-16. The Environment Agency has said that the UK faces having to abandon areas rather than continue to defend them with the ever higher and stronger flood defences that would be necessary.

Committee - Climate - Change - Risk - Assessment

According to the committee's climate change risk assessment it is almost certain that England will have to adapt to at least one metre of sea level rise. Modelling studies have shown that flooding increases exponentially with rising sea levels. So for coastal areas subject to flooding it is not sufficient to increase the height of sea walls in line with sea level rise.

The assessment predicts that up to 1.5m properties (including 1.2m residential homes) may be located in areas with an annual flood risk of once in 200 years or more by the 2080s. Around 8,900 properties are located in areas at risk from coastal erosion, this may increase to over 100,000 properties by the 2080s. While coastal erosion affects fewer properties than flooding, the impact is more drastic due to the inevitable and irrecoverable loss of land to the sea.

Increases - Flood - Risk

Significant increases in coastal flood risk are projected to occur as...
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