Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) (FL 100)


  1.1  The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) welcomes the opportunity to provide comments to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on the recent flooding events. Our response focuses on the increased risk of flooding as a result of climate change and the responses to reduce this risk.


  2.1  UKCIP is a boundary organisation that was established in 1997 by the UK Government to help UK organisations assess how climate change might affect them and how they might adapt to the unavoidable impacts. We co-ordinate and integrate stakeholder-led assessments of climate change impacts and adaptation at a regional and national level, and provide tools (such as the UKCIP02 climate change scenarios; a risk, uncertainty and decision making framework; and a costings methodology) and guidance throughout the process for both stakeholders and the researchers. Within the UKCIP framework, regional scoping studies on climate change impacts have been undertaken for all parts of the UK, and regional climate change partnerships have been established. Sectoral studies focused on a number of areas of activity have also been undertaken. Further information on the UKCIP tools and studies is available from our website (


  3.1  A number of studies have examined the changing flood risk in the UK and found that it is likely to increase as a result of climate change. The most recent large-scale study of the risk was the Foresight Flood and Coastal Defence Report published in 2004. UKCIP would like to remind the Committee of this changing flood risk and encourage them to bear this increasing risk in mind when considering the lessons learned and how we can better respond to flooding events.

  3.2  UKCIP also believe the enquiry should include a focus on solutions that are informed by concerns related to climate change. It is important that the options considered to better manage flood risk do not increase the risks for others or the vulnerability from other non-climate risks. By this we mean that there is a need to recognize that the spatial and temporal nature of flood risks and the implications of adaptation options both in the location they are intended to protect and the surrounding areas. The approach needs to be consistent with adaptation as part of a sustainable development approach.

  3.3  We would also encourage the Committee to consider the applicability of how other countries respond to flood risk. For example, we are aware that New Zealand has a much more structured approach to responding to natural disasters and suggest that there could be lessons to be learnt from how other countries respond to such events.

UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP)

September 2007

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