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Flood threat may force whole communities to abandon homes

Flood threat may force whole communities to abandon homes

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 9:50am 9th May 2019. (Updated at 5:25pm 9th May 2019)

Rising sea levels and more severe weather could mean entire communities need to be moved to higher ground.

That is one of the warnings in a new long-term flooding plan from the Environment Agency (EA).

It also says new homes in low-lying areas will need in-built defences.

With global temperatures predicted to rise between 2C and 4C by 2100, the EA report said at least £1bn needs to be spent on building and improving current defences.

However more drastic action may also be needed, including rebuilding flood-hit homes with raised electrics, hard floor, protective doors - and in some cases relocation.


"We can't win a war against water by building away climate change with infinitely high flood defences.

"More should be done to encourage property owners to build back better and in better places after a flood, rather than just recreating what was there before.

"In some places, the scale of the threat may be so significant that recovery will not always be the best long term solution.

"In these instances, we will help communities to move out of harm's way."

EA chairwoman Emma Howard Boyd 

storm waves

Climate change and population growth are predicted to double the number of properties built on the flood plain over the next 50 years - leading the EA to suggest other measures to help communities become resilient to flooding are needed.

These could include temporary barriers, natural flood management schemes such as planting trees to slow the flow of rivers and sustainable drainage systems with ponds and areas where water can soak away into the ground.

And with only a third of people who live in areas at risk of flooding believing their property is under threat, the agency wants to build a nation of "climate champions" educating youngsters through the curriculum about the risks of floods.

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