Call for an independent inquiry into the UK’s flood preparedness
Responding to announcement today by the Met Office that December 2015 was the wettest calendar month for the UK since records began in 1910, and 2015 was the sixth wettest year, Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said:
“While today’s Met Office figures provide further evidence that climate change is making the UK warmer and wetter, they do not justify the fact that many parts of the UK have, for the second time in three years, been caught out by heavy winter rainfall. Six of the seven wettest years on record for the UK have occurred from 2000 onwards, a period during which we have also experienced our eight warmest years. The pattern is clear and the UK should be better prepared to deal with the consequences, such as river and surface water flooding, even if the heavy rainfall is unprecedented. On 30 June 2015, the expert Committee on Climate Change, in its annual progress report to Parliament, recommended that the Government “develop a strategy to address the increasing number of homes in areas of high flood risk”. However, in its official response in October, the Government claimed that such a strategy “would not be appropriate at this time”. This was clearly a mistake, as events during this winter have clearly demonstrated. It would be sensible, therefore, for the Government to initiate an independent inquiry into the UK’s preparedness for coastal, surface water and river flooding, the risks of which are increasing in the UK due to more intense rainfall and sea level rise as a result of climate change. Such an inquiry should consider not just levels of spending on defences, but also develop the main elements of national flood risk strategy, as recommended by the Committee on Climate Change. The inquiry should make an independent and constructively critical assessment of the role of local, devolved and national government and its agencies, among others, in managing flood risk across the UK.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- The ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (https://www.cccep.ac.uk/) is hosted by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/). The Centre’s mission is to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research.
- The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham) was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (http://www.granthamfoundation.org/).