LONDON, UK - Improved rain and flood modelling, a significant increase in new temporary flood defences and greater protection to infrastructure were all outlined in the government’s National Flood Resilience Review this week.
The review includes:
· £12.5 million for new temporary defences, such as barriers and high volume pumps, at seven strategic locations around the country
· Utility companies’ commitment to increase flood protection of their key local infrastructure, such as phone networks and water treatment works, so they are resilient to extreme flooding
· A new stress test of the risk of flooding from rivers and the sea in England. For the first time, Met Office forecasts of extreme rainfall scenarios will be linked with Environment Agency modelling to provide a new assessment of flood risk.
The review follows £2.5 billion of government investment between 2015 and 2021 to strengthen flood and coastal defences, as well as spending £1 billion on maintaining the nation’s flood defences.
With the evidence of the National Flood Resilience Review, government will now turn its attention to investment after 2021, making sure funds are directed where they are needed most.
Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “Last winter we saw just how devastating flooding can be. This review sets out clear actions so we are better prepared to respond quickly in the event of future flooding and can strengthen the nation’s flood defences.
“Work is already underway towards £12.5 million of new temporary defences stationed around England, better protection for our infrastructure and new flood modelling that makes better use of data and technology.”
Ben Gummer, minister for the cabinet Office and paymaster general, said: “This is an important step in the fight against flooding as these new measures will help to protect communities from the perils of extreme weather.
“The government has made clear that we expect water and telecoms companies to work ever closer together to improve their preparation and response to flooding, making sure lifelines such as mobile phone masts and water treatment works continue to function even when the Great British weather is throwing its very worst at us.”
Sir Mark Walport, the government chief scientific adviser, said: “It is important that policy on flood risk is underpinned by credible and objective scientific evidence and analysis. This review used new modelling techniques to challenge our ideas around the frequency and location of extreme flooding.
“We were able to model what level of rainfall would be worse than anything that we have experienced but still possible for our climate. This information enabled us to look again at how bad coastal and river flooding could be under such extreme conditions to ensure we are better prepared. This work was overseen by an expert group brought together from across industry and academia.”
Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, added: “We worked closely with the government on this review. I welcome these plans setting out how the country can become more resilient to flooding in future. The extra funding will help us to do even more for local communities so that we can better protect homes and businesses and respond even more rapidly and flexibly when extreme weather strikes.”
ICE director general, Nick Baveystock, said: “This report rightly emphasises the need to protect critical infrastructure during extreme flooding so the public, businesses and communities can continue to function. An integrated approach to infrastructure is absolutely key to achieving this level of resilience and we are pleased this has been acknowledged.
Jon Robinson, director – water at AECOM, said: “The Review paves the way for a new approach to flood risk management. Ultimately, a more holistic approach that brings together multiple stakeholders working together across entire catchments is needed. While the Review rightly advocates a strategic, long-term approach to flood management, our hope is that funding too will increase in real terms in recognition of its importance.
“Crucially, the Review makes the link between flood management, resilient infrastructure and urban regeneration. It is vital the opportunities to create social and economic value from improved flood management are maximised.”