The report on climate change published in August 2021 from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), labelled “code red for humanity”, sets out the many ways in which human influence has warmed the climate. The dangers of climate change are no longer only something distant, impacting people elsewhere in the world.
BBC - Climate change: IPCC report is 'code red for humanity' (opens new window)
The Met Office identifies that the UK is already seeing an increase in the intensity and frequency of warm spells, and predicts that the future will bring increases in intense weather extremes.
Met Office - Effects of climate change (opens new window)
Another consequence of climate change is flooding, often reported to be the most common form of natural disaster. The IPCC projects that by 2100, the UK can expect a 10% rise in annual average rainfall. This includes an increase in the number of heavy rainfall events falling in a short period of time, which will cause more frequent and widespread flooding that in turn means new areas will be at risk.
For Warwickshire, a county that is towards the top of many river catchments, much of the flooding we experience is surface water driven. This is not necessarily water flooding out of our rivers, but more the flow of water overland, as it makes its way to these networks, creating issues along the way. Heavy rainfall can overwhelm drainage systems and can be a particular problem in heavily concreted urban areas where the water cannot sink directly into the soil. As a result, flooding can cause severe damage to buildings and transportation as well as to our more rural agricultural land.
Over the last three years, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service has reported an average of 87 flooding incidents per annum.
There have been two recent assessments of climate change in Warwickshire. The first is a climate impact report developed by Warwickshire County Council:
Climate Impacts Assessment for Warwickshire County Council PDF, 551KB)
The second is a report by Anthesis which was jointly commissioned by Warwick District Council and Stratford-on-Avon District Council in response to their climate emergency declarations.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Warwick District Council - Climate Action Support
To find out how we are working to mitigate against flooding in Warwickshire, read the blog from Mark Banning from our Flood Risk and Water Management team.
Find out more about flooding in Warwickshire
On a more positive note, tackling climate change can play a role in improving the quality of life for our residents. More energy-efficient homes will mean less children suffering from asthma and related diseases, and more active travel can contribute to better physical and mental health and wellbeing. Investment in new green technologies also has the potential to create up to 700,000 jobs in the low carbon-economy in England by 2030 (source: LGA - Local green jobs - accelerating a sustainable economic recovery (opens new window). So, by addressing climate change, we can also positively influence other social and economic challenges too.