Considerable work remains to be done to protect homes from flood damage and to ensure homes do not overheat dangerously in summer as climate change intensifies storms and heat waves in the UK. This is the key message from one of the country’s leading experts on climate change adaptation.
Speaking on the eve of the Climate Adaptation Summit, opening tomorrow in the Netherlands, Julia King told the Observer that while some improvements have been made to Britain’s preparations to deal with global warming, important protection is still lacking.
“We need to do more to make homes more resistant to flooding and we also need to deal with the worrying problem of overheating properties in summer,” said King, a member of the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC). “These issues must be addressed as key priorities as global warming continues.”
Emergency services are evacuating residents of nursing homes stranded by flood water in Northwich, Cheshire, last week. Photograph: Paul Ellis / AFP / Getty Images
King’s warning comes after many parts of the country struggled to recover from the devastating impact of Storm Christoph, which last week inundated swathes of northern England and Wales, destroying bridges, flooding retirement homes and forcing thousands to flee their homes. As of Thursday, a total of 167 flood warnings were issued, including three “danger to life” advisories.
Six of the wettest years on record in the UK have now occurred since 1998, with 2020 provisionally the sixth wettest since 1862, and scientists warn they expect winters to become increasingly wetter as climate change intensifies.
A Met Office report warned that a long period of rain, such as that experienced in the UK in 2013-4, when 10,000 houses were flooded, is now seven times more likely because of global warming.
King, a cross-bench peer who sits in the Lords as Baroness Brown of Cambridge, pointed out that many improvements – including the construction of barriers and flood gates – had already been done or were in the planning stages. , helping to tackle the growing risk of severe flooding affecting the UK. However, many measures are still lacking.
“Some homes have been built in places where it’s very difficult to stop flooding, and residents need help making their homes more resilient in the event of flooding,” said King, who chairs the deputy. CCC adaptation committee. “What is needed for these properties is a whole range of measures to keep as much water out as possible.”
These would include installing ground floors in solid concrete rather than wood; installation of elevated electrical outlets; have raised thresholds on the doors and use waterproof plaster so that a house can be cleaned and made habitable as quickly as possible.
“We haven’t done enough to make sure people get help to deal with these kinds of things,” King added. “The mental health impact of flooding your home is directly related to the extent of the damage caused and the time required to repair it. So it must be dealt with directly. “
In addition, major problems arise in summer, with temperatures reaching record highs more and more frequently. This led the government to launch a consultation on the overheating of new homes.
“That’s great newsKing said. “However, this is only a consultation and it only covers new homes.
“He won’t be making recommendations on homes created by converting old office buildings, which have lots of windows but don’t have additional shuttering or ventilation systems.
“In the summer of 2018, the temperatures are returning to …
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