Thursday, January 31, 2013

1953 North Sea Floods anniversary: More needs to be done on ‘flood resilience’, leading engineer claims

Skegness Standard: A leading figure from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has warned that more needs to be done to improve the ‘flood resilience’ of communities - including those hit by the devastating 1953 North Sea Floods which killed thousands. Sixty years after the devastating floods of 1953, the UK and Europe remains under threat of rising waters in the face of climate change and increased rainfall.

But continued investment in infrastructure must be matched with increasing the flood resilience of communities, experts have claimed. Professor David Balmforth, the vice president of the ICE and chair of the Inter-Institutional Flooding Group, said coastal regions are now better protected by sea defences, reliable flood forecasting, and well-established emergency response measures.

But he has raised concerns that progress on making communities more “flood resilient” was less advanced, arguing that work in this area might be the key to tackling flooding in the future. “It is important that we continue to invest in appropriate levels of flood defence works in the future,” he said.

“However, of equal importance is building the flood resilience of our communities. Flood forecasts are not universally embedded in the day to day life of all communities at risk of flooding, and in too many cases, communities do not even realise that they are at risk.

“Our buildings and infrastructure are also not always designed to resist flooding and more can be done to make them flood resistant – in much the same way that we have made buildings more energy efficient. We have yet to learn that building resilience against floods must be at the heart of any future flood risk management strategy,” he said....

Canvey, a city in Essex, UK, during the 1953 North Sea flood, from a US Army helicopter

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