Impact of climate change on flooding in the UK

Storm Ciara had barely blown over the UK in early February before Storm Dennis was announced, bringing another weekend of wet and windy weather to much of the country.

This might feel like a pattern in recent years, when crisp, cold, snowy winter days have been relatively few compared to blustery weather and prolonged downpours.

And we could be set to see weather events like Storm Ciara and the Beast from the East become more commonplace, based on a major study published in the journal Nature in 2019.

Flooding on the rise in Europe

The research pulled together data for thousands of rivers across Europe from academic sources including the University of Bath and the University of Liverpool.

It found flooding due to burst riverbanks has increased in northern Europe in the past 50 years, while decreasing in southern Europe.

For those working in engineering and construction in the UK, this trend is unavoidable, with the potential to cause significant disruption if you’re not well prepared.

Dr Thomas Kjeldsen of the University of Bath said: “Incorporating the evidence of increasing flood risk into engineering design and general flood management would ensure we are better prepared for future changes.”

Dr Neil Macdonald from Liverpool University’s Department of Geography & Planning added: “Flood management must adapt to the realities of our changing climate and associated flood risk over the coming decades.”

How to adapt?

One simple way to do this on building sites at relatively low cost is through the use of timber bog mats, which can quickly and easily cover over wet and muddy ground.

Stacking bog mats in an H-formation, similar to laying railway lines over sleepers, can raise walkways and temporary roads above the level of waterlogged land, allowing work to proceed uninterrupted.

At Timbermat we’ve been supplying bog mats for sale and hire for many years, including for use on marshland, beaches and other tidal locations.

Timber bog mats are relatively cheap, with little to no impact on site insurance costs, and are manufactured from completely sustainable timber – minimising their environmental impact.

Responsible forestry can even have benefits for the environment, as trees are a natural store of carbon, making timber mats an all-round positive solution to the future challenges of climate change and increased risk of flooding on construction sites across the UK.

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