Posted by: waterworks | May 5, 2008

29. The UK Risk List 2008

Academics at University College London (UCL) have produced a report for UK fund manager Hermes alerting property investors to the unpalatable truth that settlements in southern England are more likely to become flooded than their northern cousins in years to come.  Property investors who failed to attend GCSE geography lessons at school, take heed.   The net effect of projected global rises in sea level acting in conjunction with long-term land movements will continue to be: a sinking south and a rising north.  Given that house prices across the UK are now starting to tumble – perhaps towards freefall – long term risk over insurability in the south is hardly cheering news for owners of low-relief housing stock in this region, especially along the Thames floodplain (and a newly-televised fictional account of the flooding of London – imaginatively entitled Flood! – has recently materialised just in time just to rub salt in the wound). 

The UCL report highlights the unforeseen problems facing city centres in the south, where it euphemistically flags up “a lack of coping strategies” (roughly translates to a phrase that includes key phrases “shit creek” and “paddle”).   The report breaks down the main risks as: increased temperatures and heat waves affecting the internal comfort levels of buildings and storage; extreme rainfall and flooding, leading to property damage; drought affecting water supplies; reduced soil moisture leading to damaging ground movement; and increased wind speed, with subsequent risk of structural damage.  The report found that extreme rainfall and associated local flooding would be the greatest climatic threat to commercial property.  Without any further ado, the metropolitan flooding risk list of 2008 (rated by top UCL scientists according to “vulnerability of cities to climate change”) is as follows:

  • Southampton #1
  • Bristol #2 
  • Cardiff #3 =
  • Thames Gateway #3 =
  • Cambridge #4 =
  • London #4 =
  • Birmingham #5
  • Leeds #6
  • Liverpool #7 =
  • Manchester #7 = 
  • Newcastle #7 =
  • Edinburgh #8
  • Belfast #9
  • Glasgow #10


The full report can be read here.


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