Flooding, Climate Change, and How to Act in an Emergency

Flooding, Climate Change, and How to Act in an Emergency

31 January 2019

For a country that experiences a significant amount of rain throughout the year, the UK still has a lot to learn about flooding, understanding and preventing floods from causing irreparable damage, and ensuring we are prepared for the worst.

Recently, the government has approved a £42m flood defence scheme that will protect approx. 110,000 homes and businesses in Hull. The scheme was created as a response to flooding in December 2013, which resulted in more than 250 properties being flooded.

Five years after the events could be described as a slow reaction given the number of subsequent storms that have hit the UK, most recent of which was Storm Deirdre – the fourth storm of the 2018/2019 UK storm season.

If we know the floods could be coming, why are we not preparing now? Why are we reactive instead of proactive? Be proactive with PAL Hire.

Flood Statistics

The numbers do not make for good reading:

  • 5.2 million people live in flood risk areas in England and Wales.
  • One in six homes in England is at risk of flooding.
  • Annual flood damage costs are in the region of £1.4 billion across England.
  • 25% of flooding occurs outside areas designated as being flood prone.
  • 40% of businesses do not reopen after suffering a catastrophic loss due to floods.

It would be fair to comment that any potential increase in the number of storms and flooding across the UK would be as a direct result of climate change.

Impact of Climate Change

Climate change could make floods more likely in future years. The floods could also become increasingly dangerous. Met Office records show that nine (9) of since 17 record breaking rainfall months have been since 2000.

The increasing intensity of storms coupled with rising sea levels creates a symphony of chaos that provides a potential risk to life.

Previously, it was thought towns and cities on the coast, and susceptible to cases of coastal erosion, would be the only areas badly affected by climate change and flooding. More recently, however, research conducted by Newcastle University showed 85% of UK cities, including London, would face increased flooding.

The UK currently does not have a long-term strategy for flood protection; however, Defra is currently spending £2.6bn on flood defences to protect approx. 300,000 homes from flooding by 2021.

Climate change also impacts reservoir levels when there is a dry and hot summer. Last summer, a submerged village made a reappearance due to low water levels in Derbyshire.

Nationwide Strategy

Any long-term strategy should include traditional flood defences, green infrastructure, and natural flood defences.

Natural flood defences, such as planting a large number of trees, have successfully reduced river flow by up to 20%.

The work not only included planting trees, but also creating leaky dams and restoring moorland, all of which slow the flow of water into a river and reduce its peak height. In terms of costs, it is worth highlighting the project cost significantly less than a proposed flood wall.

Eco-Friendly Solutions

The industry is creating eco-friendly solutions to combat potential flooding. One of Europe’s leading suppliers of innovative flood defence products has designed a reusable product designed specifically for emergency situations.

These flood defences are easy to set in place with minimal training to ensure fast install, robust, flexible and cost effective barriers.

Alongside permanent solutions, temporary flood defences can be brought to specific problem sites to provide flood defence as required. This is where PAL Hire can help you.

PAL Hire Can Offer You…

Two solutions: one before a potential flood and one to clear your property if you’ve already been affected by the adverse conditions.

These solutions have no fixed foundation other than the ground, with pre-prepared modifications to ensure stability of the equipment.

Our flood barriers are proven and effective flood prevention methods, capable of being assembled by one person.

If you operate within the construction industry, PAL Hire would recommend utilising the 900mm Flood Barrier to protect valuable assets from potential damage due to rising water levels.


The crux of the matter is enough money isn’t being put into flood defences and administrations across the country are being forced to create their own solutions. Innovation should be celebrated; however, if only half of a city is safe from flooding, then a full solution is needed.

Money has been given to Defra to help communities, but until the statistics at the beginning of this article improve, with less people being at risk, then the country will forever continue to react to floods rather than taking the initiative and protecting ourselves for the future.

Check to see if your area is at risk of flooding using the link below: