Thursday, April 14, 2011

A company builds the case for flood defences

No endorsement, but still, an interesting news release from UK Flood Barriers Limited, found in Flood risk is a particular problem for the UK and it is anticipated that this phenomenon is going to be an increasing burden on our society in the coming years.

The two primary causes are the unpredictable consequences of climate change resulting in increased severity and intensity of rainfall, and the impact of new developments which are taking place on floodplains, which are themselves at risk of flooding, and which increase the risk of flooding downstream. Some alarming statistics abound and it is estimated that:
  • 1.5% of the country is at risk from direct flooding from the sea
  • About 7% of the country is likely to flood at least once every 100 years from rivers
  • 1.7m homes and 130,000 commercial properties, worth more than £200 billion, are at risk from river or coastal flooding in England
  • Many more properties are also at risk from flash floods.
The effects of flooding, and managing flood risk, costs the UK around £2.2 billion each year and we currently spending around £800 million per annum on flood and coastal defences. Even with the UK's current level of flood defences in place, as an economy we experience an average of £1,400 million of damages per annum and in this scenario, it is anticipated that a building is more likely to flood than it is to burn down.

It is interesting that in the UK we seem have strangely ambivalent approach to flood prevention, not only from a consumer perspective but at a professional level where it seems that the threat from flooding has not been given a true perspective and where the understanding of what can be done to mitigate against the effects of flood is fairly negligible. The reality is that homes, businesses and communities can all be fully protected by available flood defence products but we need a better understand of how to go about solving the problem….

A flood at the abbey (can't tell which one), shot by Matthew Hatton, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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