The Environment Agency’s Chief Executive Sir James Bevan has highlighted the need for a new approach to tackle flooding in his keynote speech at the annual Flood and Coast Conference
Over the next 50 years, a different approach is needed to protect the country from Flooding. As Sir James Bevan revealed that every £1 invested in new flood schemes saves the economy £10 in damages avoided, he said that despite huge advances in flood protection, what worked so well in the past will not be enough in the future.
Rising sea levels and higher populations in built-up areas will mean new approaches are needed to combat increasing flood risk. Since 2015, new flood schemes completed by the Environment Agency have benefitted more than 100,000 homes but to continue building on this success new 21st century approaches are needed.
These include a call for greater business investment, quicker emergency response and increased use of natural flood scheme, in addition to ‘hard’ defences, in order to reduce the impact of flooding on communities around the country.
Sir James Bevan said: “Almost every day in this country, when rivers and tides rise, rain falls and storms blow, thousands of people sleep safe and unaware that they are being protected by flood defences.
“But what works so well now – and has done in the past – may not be enough in the future. Over the next fifty years, if we are going to give the country the best possible protection against flooding, we are going to need a different approach.”
The Environment Agency is currently working on its next National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy which will address these challenging questions raised in Sir James Bevan’s speech.
Government is investing £2.6 billion in flood and coastal erosion risk management projects between 2015 and 2021.
Now in its third year, the annual Flood and Coast Conference brings together experts from across the globe to share ideas and opportunities to work together to tackle the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. More on the conference can be found here: https://www.floodandcoast.com/.
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