‘Thousands of homes at risk of floods in area due to climate change’

‘Thousands of homes at risk of floods in area due to climate change’

by Henry James (November 2021)

THOUSANDS of homes in Sefton are at high risk of flooding according to Patrick McKinley, who is a member of the North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and the Merseyside Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Partnership.

Mr McKinley, who is also leader of Maghull Town Council, has spoken of the risks associated of rising ground water as world leaders meet in Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit.

He said: “In Sefton today flooding from rivers and the sea puts 3,074 properties at low risk and 41 at high risk.

“Surface water (rain and extreme weather) flooding currently puts 43,860 properties at low risk and 12,465 at high risk.

“Sefton has by far the highest risk of flooding from surface water in our region.

“What is beyond question is that climate change will have an impact on seas, rivers and extreme weather events leading to more flooding.”

He said it was a particularly important issue in areas like Maghull which is built on the natural flood plain of the River Alt.

While several projects are underway across Sefton he said that because of the amount of development is planned for the area, it is vitally important that planning law takes account of the impact of climate change.

He added: “As rivers and seas rise and extreme weather saturates the ground the likelihood is there will be an impact on the speed and how much water can be infiltrated by the ground.

“This is important because developers and local authorities are following existing government guidelines which are woefully inadequate.

“Digging larger ditches or building higher dykes or artificially pumping water to keep river levels stable may not been sustainable in the long run.

“Current solutions may not solve the problem if the ability of the land to act as a sponge has been depleted, flood plains have increased and water is coming up through the floorboards.

“Planning authorities are using inadequate data and if you can’t measure something you can’t manage it, so how do we know that current flood mitigation measures will work in the future because of changes in groundwater levels?”

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