Agency publishes evidence for flood and coastal risk plans
Published: 15 Mar 2019

The Environment Agency has published a new economic assessment to aid planning for flooding and coastal risk management over the next 50 years.

The Study uses new data on climate change, population and mapping to set out potential future scenarios, and to assess how funding could be best allocated to meet these challenges.

The Report states that without sustained investment, future flood damage to properties and infrastructure in England will significantly increase. It estimates an average annual investment of £1 billion will be necessary up to 2065.

The overall benefit to cost ratio of the new estimates is nine to one, which means for every £1 spent on protecting communities, around £9 in property damages and wider impacts would be avoided.

A full range of climate change scenarios demonstrates that a number of measures are needed to ensure that communities are resilient over the next 50 years. These include:

  • building and maintaining large-scale engineered defences;
  • natural flood management techniques such as planting trees;
  • slowing the flow of water and property flood resilience for homes.

The findings also provide evidence for planning authorities and developers. Current planning policy and implementation limit the impact on flood risk, but investments and planning decisions will be vital to keep pace with population growth and climate change.

Julia Foley, Director Flood Strategy at the Environment Agency stated: "this report sets out the level of investment we need to consider over the next 50 years alongside the action we need to take to ensure that communities, businesses and vital infrastructure are resilient to flooding and coastal erosion".

"The scenarios are a key evidence base to inform our Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, due later this year, and will help government, businesses and the insurance industry plan for the future".

The Reports findings highlight the importance of continued investment to protect infrastructure including transport and utility networks, 41% of which are located in areas which are at risk of flooding.

The impact of flooded infrastructure can be more extensive than the immediate water damage, impacting on supply chains, travel and access to key services like hospitals and schools. The National Flood Resilience Review sets out how the Government is working with utility companies, regulators and others to implement long-term resilience plans. 

The Environment Agency is investing £2.6 billion in flood and coastal erosion risk management projects between 2015 and 2021, helping to protect 300,000 homes. Later this year, the Agency will consult on its new Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, which sets out the long term vision for a nation more resilient to flooding and coastal change.

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