Brits Warned Of Flash Floods

Flooding will be Britain’s biggest climate risk with almost five million people to be affected over the next 100 years, a report has revealed.

Heavier rainfall predicted in a warmer atmosphere will cause more floods, worsening damage and disruption to infrastructure and property, it said.

The Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) found that if no further action is taken to address climate change, the annual flood damage bill to buildings could rise to £12bn by the 2080s, compared to the current costs of £1.2bn.

And at-risk properties may face issues with the availability of insurance and mortgages, the report said.

The research, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs , highlights the top 100 effects of global warming and their expected impact on the UK.

It is the first comprehensive assessment of the risks of climate change to Britain – and is designed to act as a planning tool for the government, local authorities and the private sector.

The Government-funded study also predicts extreme weather events – like the 2007 summer floods and the snowfall last year that cost £600m a day – will increase significantly.

It projected that the number of days a year temperatures will rise above 26C will jump from 18 days to between 27 and 121 days in London by the 2080s, adding that the higher summer temperatures could see heat-related deaths rise to 6,000 by the 2050s.

Other risks include an increase in water shortages, with a potential deficit of between 773 and 2,570 million litres of water a day in the Thames river basin – up from a shortfall of 59 million litres a day currently.

Rising sea levels could hit natural assets such as beaches and buildings including tourist attractions and historical monuments, with knock-on impacts for businesses that rely on them.

But it is not all doom and gloom. Warmer winters will reduce the number of deaths caused by the cold by 24,000 by the 2050s.

The report also foresees opportunities to grow new crops as well as to open up a new container shipping route through the melted Arctic ice, improving trade links with Asia and the Pacific.

Secretary of State for Defra, Caroline Spelman, told Sky News, “This is a groundbreaking piece of research which means we have a much better understanding now of the risks, but also the opportunities, that climate change will bring.

“And it will allow us now to develop a national adaptation plan so we can deal with those risks and take advantage of those opportunities by working together with everyone to deal with this challenge in the future.”

However, critics say there are too many uncertainties to take the assessment seriously.

Lord Lawson from the Climate Change Foundation described the predictions as “guesstimates” that are based on computer model projections that are “wrong”.

“No one knows what will happen over the next 100 years,” he added.

The report’s chief scientific advisor, Bob Watson, said the assessment is “probably the best in the world” but he admitted “there are some uncertainties”.

The Climate Change Risk Assessment is the first in a series and will be updated every five years.

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