Sets out new information and methods to understand the possible impacts of a changing climate on deterioration of flood defence assets.
Climate change is a huge challenge for flood risk management. This report sets out new information and methods to understand the possible impacts of a changing climate on deterioration of the flood defence assets which play a central role in protecting people and properties.
The Environment Agency together with local authorities, internal drainage boards and various private landowners maintains £35 billion of flood risk assets in England alone. Over time these assets deteriorate and require maintenance to retain their standard of service and avoid failure.
This research increases our understanding of how climate change factors may alter the vulnerability to deterioration of those assets, and therefore where additional maintenance effort might be required in the future.
Here are some of other important findings.
The study concludes with an initial high-level estimate of the overall total impact of climate change upon FCERM asset deterioration, in terms of the possible level of additional investment required to address the issue. Based upon available data at the time of writing, it is estimated that current budgets for maintenance and repairs may need to increase annually by between 30% and 80%, some £30 to £75 million per year, to address the greater potential for deterioration. In addition, upgrading and improvements will be needed for the most affected assets, which could require investment of a further £2.5 to £4.5 billion over and above currently estimated rebuild or refurbishment costs. These figures are compared to a baseline estimated from understanding our asset types, their rate of deterioration and estimated costs of repair or replacement.
Flood embankments, walls and bank protection make up most of the increased cost requirement. This is due to their specific vulnerability to the effects of climate change, the unit costs to maintain and repair these asset types, and the sheer number of those assets.
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