The UK faces rising sea levels and more frequent floods and storms as a result of climate change, although there is still considerable uncertainty about the extent and timing of these changes.
In 2004, the then Office of Science and Technology’s Foresight report “Future Flooding” examined future flood and coastal defence in the UK. It found that annual economic losses to flooding would increase by the 2080s, although there is considerable uncertainty about the extent of that increase.
The Environment Agency integrates climate risk into its decision-making on flooding. For example, the Agency allows for an increase of 20 per cent. in peak flood flows in its assessment of future flood risk along the rivers Severn and Wye. It also assumes an annual 5 mm increase in predicted water levels in the Severn estuary as part of its planning for the possibility of future sea level rise.