This is a core component of the city’s Climate Change Strategy. Climate change is with us here and now and will get significantly worse before (if) it gets better due to the greenhouse gas emissions already in the atmosphere and their delayed impact.
The UK Climate Impacts Programme - which leads UK scientific consensus on impacts – says the South East of England will continue to be most affected in the UK.
UKCIP 09 projections show changes modelled by 2020 may well include:
- Average temperature increases of 1-1.5 degrees C
- 5-15% less rainfall, especially in summer months, increasing the likelihood of drought
- More extreme weather events such as very hot days, drought, storm surges, and heavy rainfall – increasing the likelihood of flooding
Brighton & Hove has been identified by the government as an 'area of serious water stress'. The city’s water comes only from underground sources and so we are vulnerable to short, severe droughts. Climate change will mean that we are likely to see longer periods without rain and so experience water shortage in the future.
The pressures on water resources are set to increase through additional demands from population growth and new housing. Greater water efficiency, especially within existing housing stock, is essential for the sustainable management of water resources and the health of the environment.
Flooding through torrential rainfall had a serious impact on Sussex in 2000 and continues to be a major area of concern, with several flooding incidents since. Fears about flood and drought are not incompatible, as one feature of climate change is disruption to usual weather cycles, with more frequent extreme periods of weather events.
So we need a better and sophisticated shared understanding across the city of the risks (and some opportunities) of climate change to our infrastructure and economy, our communities and our wildlife and habitats.
Other areas like Kent and East Sussex are ahead of us on this and we can learn from them.
Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management work focuses on delivering actions in Catchment Flood Management Plans (CFMP) and a second Shoreline Management Plans (SMP2).