Recent North West floods worst in 600 years


The extreme floods that hit the North West in 2009 and again in 2015 - when tens of thousands were left without power - were unprecedented and proof of rising flood risk, according to new research.

The study, led by researchers at the Universities of Liverpool and Southampton, points to the rising impact of climate change on the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events in the UK.

The team analysed lake sediment records from both years and compared them with records from the bottom of Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria, concluding that the recent floods were the largest in over half a millennia.

Boxing Day floods

In the winter of 2014-15, Storm Desmond and Storm Eva caused the wettest December on record and saw the army deployed across parts of Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire to help with the recovery effort.

Tens of thousands of properties were left without power or experienced supply disruptions, and the total cost to the economy was projected to be in the region of £5 billion.

After seeing some fellow businesses unable to trade for months, one affected company in Bury was even inspired to develop its own flood defence product.

‘Unprecedented challenge’

Richard, professor of physical geography at the University of Liverpool, said: “This research study places the recent extreme flooding events of the last 20 years in a far longer context, providing new insights into the frequency and magnitude of the really large flood events.”

“The unprecedented nature of the recent phase of extreme floods accords with statements from the Environment Agency that climate changes and associated impacts on the frequency and magnitude of extreme events are one of the greatest challenges facing our society.”

Five million people in England currently live in a flood risk area. Government guidance for businesses on how to create a flood plan is available here.



Posted under Climate Change and What it Means to You on 29 May 2019