Sunday, February 27, 2011

Flood warning over UK government spending cuts

Kent News (UK): Research which proves global warming contributed to the Kentish floods of 2000 should serve as a warning about the consequences of government spending cuts. That is the view of Kent Green Party spokesman Steve Dawe, who claims the Coalition is failing to adequately prepare for climate change by slashing the amount it spends on flood protection schemes.

His comments are in response to a ground-breaking study by Oxford University scholar Myles Allen, who found that global warming made the autumn 2000 floods – which hit Maidstone and Tonbridge in particular when the River Medway burst its banks – between two and three times more likely to happen. Mr Dawe said the research confirms predictions made 20 years ago that climate change would make naturally occurring events more frequent and damaging in the future.

He added: "Under the previous government the Environment Agency wanted £1 billion a year for flood defence projects in view of the various floods going back to 2000 in particular. "The Government agreed to raise the funding to £800 million a year, but now the Coalition is cutting this (by eight per cent to £540m a year). The justification for these cuts should now be challenged because if they don’t reverse the policy and recognise the needs of the Environment Agency then we will all end up paying for the consequences of further floods."

Between September and November, 2000, more than 500mm of rain fell in the UK – the wettest autumn since records began in 1766. More than 10,000 homes were flooded and £3.5bn of insurance claims were filed. The new research, which was compiled through, represents the first time scientists have quantified the role of human-induced climate change in increasing the risk of a serious flood…

Flooding at River Rother from Blackwall Bridge Sussex to the left and Kent to the right. Shot by Oast House Archive, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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