Increasingly severe storms and wetter winters are adding to the risk of flooding.
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Flooding endangers both life and property. Around five million people in two million properties live in flood risk areas in England and Wales. Changes in our climate, including increasingly severe storms and wetter winters, are adding to the risk of flooding.
This indicator analyses patterns of flooding over time using data on peak river levels. Six of the seven rivers show an increase in frequency of peak river levels, and three of these are considered to be significant increases. There is evidence that flooding comes in cycles and that over 70 years of data should be used to give a reliable estimate of trend. The River Severn has the longest dataset at 80 years. This shows almost constant frequencies of flooding.
Our flood defence programme protects people, property and land from flooding. Activities range from new capital projects to the improvement or maintenance of existing flood defences. But flood defences can never eliminate the risk of flood. Flood warning is essential and we have improved our flood warning service so that it now reaches over 1.2 million properties.
We continue to provide advice to local planning authorities to prevent inappropriate development in flood plains and other flood risk areas.
The science and data behind this indicator:
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