Fifteen new projects will consider how to reduce the impacts of urban drainage
flooding in towns and cities across England and how best to adapt to the inevitable
consequences of climate change. More intense and frequent rainfall events are
expected as a result of climate change. The studies, announced by Defra
today, will pinpoint areas at risk, identify the causes and consider the best
ways of managing urban drainage to reduce future flooding.
Flooding from surface water and urban drainage in towns and cities currently
costs the national economy £270 million on average each year, according
to the Government's own research. But this could increase by up to £15
billion by the 2080s, if action is not taken.
The projects were announced during a visit by Ian Pearson, Minister for Climate
Change and Environment, to Great Yarmouth, where residents have recently suffered
from surface water flooding. Welcoming the launch of the £1.7 million
pilots Mr Pearson said:
Adapting to the impacts of climate change is vital if we are to manage
the risks of flooding and coastal erosion. We can't ignore the consequences
which is why we need to start adapting now.
The issue of urban drainage flooding is of growing concern to towns and
cities across England. Many homes and businesses have already suffered from
the devastating impacts. But climate change will make the problem of urban flooding
more serious because of the increased likelihood of more intense and frequent
These 15 pilot studies will test new approaches to reduce the future
impact of urban drainage flooding on people's lives and their businesses. This
will help us understand the problem of surface water flooding better in urban
areas and will help us consider how arrangements can be improved in future.
The flooding of homes and businesses in towns and cities is typically due to
a range of factors, including high river levels, concentrations of overland
flow following heavy rainfall, limited capacity of drainage systems and blockage
of waterways and drainage channels. Some problems can be isolated to a single
cause but more often it is a combination of factors which causes the worst flooding.
Urban flooding is particularly challenging to manage partly because
several different organisations are responsible for different aspects of the
problem including water companies, the Environment Agency, local authorities
and the Highways Agency. The Integrated Urban Drainage pilot projects will see
the various bodies working together to develop solutions and will help Government
consider the best arrangements for reducing flood risk in our towns and cities.
The pilots will also provide new tools and techniques for mapping and managing
surface water following heavy rainfall events and bring more clarity on responsibilities
for those managing urban flood risk.