Severe drought could hit 45% of country by 2035

The Committee for Climate Change has said the country could be hit by severe droughts in 45% of the UK's resource zones by 2035 if mitigation against climate change is not planned for now.

A new report published by the Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) says that the water sector is near its limit in being able to cope and climate change could push it over the edge.

In almost all of the nine local authorities studied in the report, development in the floodplain had increased, and four of them the rate of development was higher than across the locality as a whole.

Three of the four coastal authorities studied saw an increase in development in areas of eroding coastline, and in two of them, the rate of development on unprotected coastline was higher than across the authority as a whole

Five of the six urban authorities studied had recently increased the area of land paved over, which -exacerbates surface water flooding risk and the urban heat island effect.

The ASC recommends a series of actions to improve water efficiency in households such as upgrades to taps, showers and toilets, which should be installed for free.

It calls for flood protection work to be carried out to reduce the damage of flooding, including air-brick covers, door-guards and drainage bungs.

It recommends policy approaches to encourage people to implement these measures including the wider use of water meters, information from the government to encourage behaviour change and tighter regulations on new housing to improve their adaptability.

They key, says the ASC, is that action must be taken now to reduce the costs of climate change.

Adaptation Sub-Committee Chair, Lord John Krebs, said: “The results in this report demonstrate how a sharper focus on the UK’s current vulnerability to climate can improve the way we prepare for climate change.

“By taking steps to manage this vulnerability, local communities, businesses and households can save money today and reduce the costs of climate change in the future”.

Alison Brown

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