Revealed: 10 areas in the UK with highest climate-related flood risk

Many properties are already at risk, study finds

Revealed: 10 areas in the UK with highest climate-related flood risk

Catastrophe & Flood

By Gabriel Olano

A report has predicted heightened flooding risk in Cardiff, Windsor, parts of London and other areas in the UK by 2050 due to the climate crisis.

The study by Fathom, a Bristol-based flood-mapping firm, used climate crisis data to determine which locations are going to see increased risk of flooding due to rainfall and rivers, The Independent reported.

Fathom’s model defined risk as having a more than 1% chance of non-coastal flooding in any given year – a standard measure. Data from 2021 was measured against the previous year’s assessment.

The top 10 areas in the UK that could see more flooding are:

  1. Cardiff, Wales – 17.09% of properties at risk, up from 15.06% in 2020
  2. Windsor and Maidenhead, England – 16.18%, up from 14.61%
  3. Warrington, England – 14.36%, up from 13.28%
  4. Barking and Dagenham, London, England – 12.31%, up from 11.56%
  5. Neath Port Talbot, Wales – 12.20%, up from 7.88%
  6. Scottish Borders, Scotland – 10.57%, up from 9.24%
  7. Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales – 9.31%, up from 7.95%
  8. West Berkshire, England – 9.02%, up from 8.20%
  9. Greenwich, London, England – 8.92%, up from 8.52%
  10. Clackmannanshire, Scotland – 8.72%, up from 7.45%

The study also found that there are around 1.09 million British properties currently at risk of flooding, and this is expected to rise by around 25% to 1.35 million by 2050. According to Professor Paul Bates, chair of hydrology at the University of Bristol and co-founder of Fathom, this means that around 75% of properties at risk by 2050 are already at risk today.

Bates said that the climate crisis is more likely to exacerbate flooding in current flood-prone areas, rather than place new locations at risk.

“There is often this narrative in flooding that we’re going to have disastrous floods in the future,” Bates told The Independent. “That implicitly suggests that we’ve got the problem under control now, which we really don’t.

“Yes, climate change does increase flood risk in most parts of the country, but actually most of the risk is already here with us today,” Bates said. “If we dealt with the now better, we’d put ourselves in a much better place to deal with climate change.”

In order to address future flood risks, Bates said that Britain must respond better to the present flood risks.

Measures include making flood-prone properties more resilient by building tiled rather than carpeted floors, installing electric sockets higher up the walls, and installing flood-proof doors and toilet bungs.

Bates also suggested government investment in flood defences and warning systems as well as stopping future developments on floodplains.

The study was published just ahead of Flood Re’s launch of its Build Back Better proposition. Under the new scheme, participating insurers will give customers access to reimbursement funds of up to £10,000, over and above work to repair damage and loss caused by a flood. The funds will be used to build flood resilience measures on affected properties.

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