The battle to improve flood defences in the UK

Source: BBC. 28 December 2015 Last updated at 19:00 GMT

A “complete rethink” of the UK’s flood defences is required following widespread flooding across northern England, the Environment Agency has said. As experts warn that extreme weather is likely to become even more familiar in the years ahead, the government says it will spend £2.3b on flood defences by 2020.

David Shukman reports (BBC Science Editor) that a major review is now underway following the devastating UK flooding over the past few days

The Environment Agency stated that with all major flood events a review will be undertaken to evaluate what worked well and what further actions need to be taken to overcome and minimise future flooding.

David Shukman reported that many of the current challenges are nothing new. Following the summer floods of 2007 a detailed study was undertaken by Sir Michael Pitt. That review into the countries flood defences and flood barriers at that time, called for a long list of improvements, but have lessons been learned?…

Well the 2007 study called for better coordination between emergency services and better life saving equipment (such as boats etc) – that has definitely happened. However the 2007 review also wanted key infrastructure flood protection – road, railways, powerlines etc. Many of these key infrastructure assets have been flooded this month. The review also stated sandbags should be phased out and no longer relied upon. Instead new technology such as plastic (like Floodstop) or metal flood barrier should be used instead.

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