Atkins is supporting the call from the Environment Agency to the UK government to guarantee sufficient spending on flood defences in the wake of the £3.2 billion bill from the summer floods.
The Environment Agency has said that investment in building and maintaining flood defences would have to double to GBP1 billion a year by 2035 to keep pace with climate change impacts. They warned that unless this happened the average annual cost of flood damage could rise by 60% over that period.
Mike Woolgar, a flood defence expert and managing director with Atkins’ Water & Environment business, said:
“Flooding is devastating for those affected – communities are still counting the costs of the 2007 floods and those more recently in Cumbria will resonate in towns like Cockermouth for years to come. The government must ensure that flood funding is visible, sufficient and guaranteed so that the Environment Agency and its partners can continue to take a structured, planned and consistent approach to safeguard our homes, communities and infrastructure.
“Benefit/cost ratios and return on investment for funded flood defences are very high and, as the Stern Review into climate change mitigation highlights, the benefits of strong, early action outweigh the costs. It will be much more cost-effective to channel investment into structured flood mitigation plans now to prevent future flood devastation than just responding to the most recent disaster.”