The Environment Agency has issued a stark warning about the impact that flooding caused by climate change will have on the UK in the years to come. They want the public’s opinion on their strategy for tackling it.
If climate change continues at current levels, we could see rises in global temperatures by 4 degrees Celsius by 2100. If the UK is to be resilient to the increased levels of flooding this would cause, £1 billion would need to be spent per year on flood defences. Environment Agency Chair Emma Howard Boyd said ‘we cannot win a war against water’ by building higher flood defences and called for a new approach to ensure communities are resilient to the threat of flooding posed by climate change.
As well as issuing these warnings, the Environment Agency yesterday launched a large-scale consultation on their National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England on Citizen Space. This the biggest that they’ve opened on the subject of flood management so far. But it’s certainly not the first – they have been working tirelessly to inform and converse with the public about the risk of floods over the last two years. The consultations and information pages that they have published on Citizen Space range in scope from single streets to river basins covering dozens of miles.
They aren’t just doing consultations, either – they have been using Citizen Space as an information sharing tool, for areas that aren’t being consulted upon, or aren’t at the moment but will be in the future. They have been proactive and consistent in their analysis of respondent feedback, posting clear and concise feedback documents on consultation landing pages or using information pages as opportunities to expand on specific timelines and updates for projects on which consultations have closed.
Emma Howard Boyd says a new approach is needed. Certainly the surest way to mitigate the flood risk is to make efforts to mitigate the root problem of climate change (simple, right?), which will involve some pretty fundamental changes. But as I mentioned in my last post, an important first step to tackling the issue is to keep the public involved in the conversation, and the Environment Agency has been doing exactly that.