Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Flood warning: why the long-term forecast for homeowners is so alarming

Tom Bawden and Natasha Clark in the Independent (UK): Communities in the south and north-west of England, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland face the prospect of further flooding on New Year's Day with the Met Office forecasting that the year will begin with persistent and heavy rain across much of the country.

After a stormy week which has already flooded about 1,300 properties across England, the prospect of further flooding has fuelled fears that Britain is not adequately prepared for the increasingly heavy rainfall which campaigners and scientists expect will hit the country in the coming years.

Campaigners argue the Government is cutting the resources it devotes to tackling flooding, just as it relaxes building laws making it easier to build on land with a high flood risk, at the same time as climate change means storms are likely to become more frequent and intense.

Furthermore, they say a new fund set up to insure homes at such a high risk of flooding that they are “uninsurable” by traditional insurers is nowhere near big enough because the Government has hugely underestimated the number of properties in severe danger of flooding.

There are also short-term problems to be dealt within the next few days. The Environment Agency has placed teams on the ground “around the clock” operating pumping stations, issuing flood warnings and checking that flood banks, walls and barriers are working effectively....

Flood next to Sandygate Inn May 2008 Photograph taken 30-MAY-2008 2 hours after heavy rain in area, shot by Tim Parsons, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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