Monday, December 3, 2007

Living on the flood plain

Can we all at least agree that living (much less building) on a floodplain - especially one that has recently flooded severely - and in light of the warnings of more similar or otherwise crazy weather in a very likely future - is not an adaptive activity.

Apparently, the submersion of much of England last spring and summer has not served to halt the building of new homes on many of those recently submerged sites. This sounds nuts to me, but it's an indication of how far we are from having everyone on board for adaptation.

This from a Press Association article, released by the Guardian:

New research has identified the top 20 places in Britain most at risk from flooding, with more than half of homeowners facing the threat in the worst affected area.

Analysis of official data by Channel 4's Dispatches revealed Boston in Lincolnshire - where 57% of homeowners are at "significant risk" - to be the most susceptible to flood waters.

In the programme, the chief executive of the Environment Agency, Baroness Young, calls on insurers to refuse insurance to houses built on floodplains against advice.

Dispatches: Britain Under Water reports that an increasing number of new homes are being built on Britain's floodplains.

This has led to a surge in the number of homes at "significant risk" of flooding - described as having a one in 75 chance of flooding in any given year.

What kind of numbers are we talking about? Big numbers. And it's not just homes and businesses.

In Boston, a market town with a population of around 65,000, 15,906 homes are placed in this category.

In Windsor and Maidenhead - second on the list - one in five homeowners face the same level of danger.

The programme reports that in addition to the potential threat to homes, more than 2,000 energy installations are at significant risk of flooding. It raises concern over whether the authorities are setting aside adequate resources to battle the threat.

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