New Government Flood Risk Planning Assessment to 2065

The Environment Agency (EA) has published a new economic assessment to aid planning for flood risk management over the next 50 years.

The assessment incorporated new climate change, population and mapping data to set out potential future scenarios to aid planning for flooding and coastal risk management over the next 50 years.

A £1bn annual investment in flood protection in the UK will be needed up until 2065, according to the long-term investment scenarios report. A previous review had recommended £860M of investment per year was needed to combat the risk of flooding.

The assessment considered multiple approaches to investment, including building and maintaining large-scale engineered defences, natural flood management, such as planting trees and slowing the flow of water and property flood resilience for homes.

Further investment will also be essential for the protection of infrastructure and transport assets as well as protecting homes, with 41% of transport and utility networks in areas at risk of flooding. This infrastructure serves an estimated 60% of households in England alone.

Key Report headlines

  • With greater climate change, raising defences becomes technically and socially challenging. Need to think about balance of hard and soft measures.
  • If current planning outcomes continue for the next 50 years the total number of properties at risk from flooding would almost double.
  • The challenge of creating resilient places, despite long-term flood risk and population growth, is concentrated in specific areas.
  • Property level flood resilience is cost effective for a large number of homes and could reduce risk by about 16%.
  • Natural flood management has a complementary and beneficial role, but alone it cannot reverse national increases in flood risk due to climate change.
  • There are social and technical limitations to achieving high levels of flood protection in many places.

The study concludes that for every £1 spent on protecting communities, around £9 in property damages and wider impacts would be avoided.

Flood Risk Planning for the Long-Term 

The findings will also provide new evidence for planning authorities and developers.

Current planning policy and implementation limits the impact on flood risk but continuing to make the right investment and planning decisions will be vital to keep pace with population growth and climate change.

The scenarios will be used as key evidence to inform the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy which the Government will publish later this year, and will help businesses and the insurance industry plan for the future.

The impacts of flooded infrastructure can be far 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 government is working with utilities companies, regulators and others to implement long-term resilience plans.

The EA 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 EA 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.

Flood Risk and Your Site

Flooding could affect your site based on past events and projected climate change allowances. Local Planning Authorities identify flood risk zones to inform specific planning conditions on development applications.

Read our handy guide to flooding risks for architects and developers. 

We can assist in your master planning approach with our Flood risk assessment (FRA) report

Contact us, call 01743 298100 or email