‘Massive’ investment needed to climate-proof South East

Billions of pounds-worth of infrastructure is needed to protect the South East of England from the impacts of climate change, countryside campaigners have said.

The threat of rising sea levels, floods and drought is magnified by a housing boom in that puts additional pressure on water resources and could aggravate floods, the Town and Country Planning Association said.

The association is calling for better flood defences but also planning that takes into account changing conditions, including gardens and open spaces that will minimise flood risk.

Population growth in the region, driven by shrinking household sizes and people living longer, will require 36,000 new homes to be built in the South East every year – equivalent to one or more free standing settlements, and accompanying infrastructure such as transport networks.

The South East coast should collaborate with France, Belgium and Holland when investigating the impacts of climate change on tourism, coastal habitats and economic development on both sides of the channel, the TCPA said.

TCPA chief executive Gideon Amos said: “We must plan our communities with far more ambition if they are to be affordable and desirable for the increasing numbers of people working and putting down roots in the south east.

“At the heart of every successful community lie houses for families with gardens and open space for the environment and the right infrastructure around them.

“Jobs, green spaces, local services, transport links, and “mini grids” providing community-based heat and power must be provided alongside more homes if we are to meet pressing social and economic need.”

Goska Romanowicz

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie