UK & World News
Extreme UK Weather Prompts Call For Action
The extremes of weather that Britain has experienced over the past year highlight the urgent need to plan for a changing climate, the head of the Environment Agency has warned.
Analysis by the Government agency reveals that one in every five days last year saw flooding in England and Wales, while one in four days were spent in drought.
There was flooding on 78 days of the year, and for 95 days there was official drought declared for some areas, figures from the EA show.
Rivers such as the Tyne, Ouse and Tone went from record low levels to experiencing their highest flows since records began, in the space of four months, the agency said.
Recent Met Office analysis suggests that the UK could experience a 1976-style drought every 10 years.
The EA said that with the population of London and the South East set to grow by 23% by 2035, action should be taken now.
Modelling suggests some river flows could be cut by up to 80% during the summer in the next 40 years as the climate changes, putting more pressure on businesses that rely on taking water from rivers for irrigation.
The EA has called for an increase in small-scale water storage reservoirs, which can take advantage of wet times and help farmers, commercial turf growers, golf clubs, sports stadiums and racecourses cope with dry periods.
There are currently around 1,700 such water storage reservoirs in England and Wales, supplying around 30% of irrigation needs, but they will need to increase as the UK faces more extreme weather as the climate changes, the agency said.
EA chairman Lord Smith said: "The extremes of weather that we saw last year highlight the urgent need to plan for a changing climate.
"In 2012 we saw environmental damage caused by rivers with significantly reduced flows, hosepipe bans affecting millions and farmers and businesses left unable to take water from rivers.
"But we also saw the wettest year on record in England, with around 8,000 homes flooded.
"Interestingly 2007 - which also saw some of the most severe flooding in recent memory - also started the year with hosepipe bans.
"More of this extreme weather will exacerbate many of problems that we already deal with including flooding and water scarcity, so taking action today to prepare and adapt homes, businesses, agricultural practices and infrastructure is vital."
what do you think?
Water authorities need to do more by clearing the drains to allow water to flow away not leave it on the road surface and the river authorities need to dredge the rivers, streams and canals to prevent some of the flooding
Seems sensible to me.weve had worse flooding here this year as a direct result of houses being built over a stream that runs in the winter months and instead of taking its usual course its now using the road and inadequate sewage pipes which rather then flowing into a pond is now flooding us.currently the enviromental office is blaming the council and the council is blaming the builders and vice versa.these new places it seems werent built with adequate infrastructur and the sewage pipe that runs by us is victorian and far too small.the situation here has caused a lot of ill feeling between us and the owners of the new build. One owner of the new builds deliberatly kept driving through the water in his range rover at speed so the wash flooded back into the our houses.in the end the farmer put a trailer across the road to stop him driving through at which point the police got involved.but we could sympathise with this house owner as his house might have to be pulled down to allow the stream to take its original course stopping us from flooding so often.either that a new mile long sewage pipe has to be put in which nobody is prepared to pay for.but until such works is carried out we cant get any insurance cover.
Shaun. Typical of the short sightedness of planners & developers. You could bet your life if they were put up without planning permission the council would be demanding demolition. As for insurance welcome to the club. We have paid out for 37 years only to find the minute you make a claim you are not covered
We must build flood defences around villages and town that currently exist.in the past it was natural to build on rivers as it was a means of transport but we no longer have to do this.so stop building on flood plains.theres far to much concrete in housing estates so water has nowhere to drain.also proper thought has to be applied to the infrastructure to these new builds and more thought to where the water can go.as well as traffic flow and electric capability.currently builders are allowed to put places up what seems overnight for quick profits, the council keeps up with its building of housing, with little thought of the enviromental costs and infrastruture.