A new report by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) confirms that the intense UK summer floods in 2007 were not due to climate change but were a ‘singular event’. “The summer 2007 floods in England and Wales – a hydrological appraisal” systematically analyses the factors which led to the 2007 floods, an event on an unprecedented scale which cost the UK economy £3 billion.
Rainfall amounts and intensities overwhelmed urban drainage systems, with a dramatic increase in levels of run-off, due to rain falling on already saturated soil. Long-term rainfall and flow records do not however reveal any clear trend towards an increase in flooding magnitude in the UK, but instead mark this out as a singularity.
The floods of 2007 do reveal the UK’s vulnerability to climatic events; vulnerability which has increased markedly due to development on flood plains.