Five year UK flooding and climate change plan announced

The Environment Agency this morning announced a series of measures aimed at safeguarding from flooding and tackling climate change over the next five years.

Chief executive of the agency, Dr Paul Leinster, unveiled the 2010 to 2015 corporate strategy at its annual conference in London’s Queen Elizabeth conference centre this morning (November 10).

Part of the strategy sees the agency back Ed Miliband’s announcement for nuclear power stations yesterday (November 9)

Dr Leinster announced support for low-carbon technologies, including renewable, as well as nuclear power.

Other plans outlined include moves to protect an extra 200,000 homes and businesses in England and Wales from flooding

Improving 9,000 miles of waterways, the equivalent of the distance between the UK and Australia, also working to reduce serious pollution incidents by 5% every year.

Dr Leinster said: “We have delivered significant achievements over the past five years. Less waste is going to landfill, more properties are protected against flooding, pollution incidents have halved since 2000, and there are more fish and wildlife in lakes and rivers.

“However, climate change is already affecting the UK and the challenges we face as a result are only going to get tougher and more properties could be at increased flood risk.

“We expect the country’s population to grow by 16 million by 2050, adding further pressure on limited water supplies and waste treatment facilities.

“Our new plans set out our approach to protect more people from flooding, clean up their local rivers, and help businesses reduce the resources they use. We all have our part to play to help protect the environment for future generations.”

In its detailed analysis of the state of the environment to support its new strategy, the Environment Agency also revealed that the number of properties in England and Wales at the highest risk of flooding could increase by over 60% from 560,000 today to over 900,000 by 2035 if investment in flood defences does not increase annually.

Over the next five years, the Environment Agency has pledged to build new and maintain existing defences, continue to restrict development in flood plains and create new wetlands and coastal habitats to prevent flooding.

More than 330m tonnes of waste is currently produced by the UK each year and more than half comes from businesses and the construction sector.

The agency is also continuing to reduce its own carbon footprint it’s already reduced staff mileage by 8.9m miles in the two years to March 2008.

It has also installed almost 80 wind turbines on its land, saving around 224,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Luke Walsh

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