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Flood plains could be abandoned

The head of the Environment Agency, Sir James Bevan, has said that building on floodplains should only happen if there is “no real alternative” and that flood prone communities may need to be abandoned. 

Furthermore Sir James has spoken at the World Water Tech Innovation Summit, in London, and commented that climate change will make flooding more of a likelihood. 

In text taken from his speech he said, "It means accepting the hard truth that in a few places, the scale of coastal erosion and the risk of flooding from rivers or the sea will become so big that it may be better for communities to choose to relocate out of harm’s way.”

During late February another wet weekend has resulted in swollen rivers and widespread flooding. Furthermore the wet weather will continue to affect the Severn, Wye, Ouse and Trent. Severe danger-to-life flood warnings have been issued for Ironbridge and Shrewsbury.

Sir James commented that new properties should be designed in a more flood resistant manner with, "garages on the ground floor and the people higher up”.

At present more than 11,000 homes are intended to be built on existing flood plains leading to an array of questions being left unanswered. Mr Hugh Ellis, of the Town and Country Planning Agency, has said moving communities at risk could take decades and further commented that, "We’re struggling with climate impacts as they are now – but you haven’t seen anything yet. We don’t have a government prioritising that and giving resources to dealing with it. This requires the re-engineering of a nation.”

Professor of Hydrology, Hannah Cloke, of the University of Reading, has suggested that flooding and flood risks should be treated as if builders are "working in earthquake zones in other countries" and that British house buyers should be better informed of the risks involved and the potential damage that could be caused. 

“It’s very difficult to imagine you’re at risk of flooding, if you haven’t seen a flood before”, she said.

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