Lately the UK has been ravaged by brutal storms – with ferocious winds and colossal waves causing widespread chaos. The result has been some of the worst floods in decades, and these are set to continue into 2014.
Over the past few weeks, thousands of people have had their Christmas and New Year plans ruined as over 75,000 homes were left without power. Furthermore, many didn’t make their desired destination for Christmas as numerous transport routes came to a halt. Gatwick was one the biggest airports to face disruption, as a power cut in the North terminal left flights delayed and cancelled with thousands of passengers left stranded as a result.
The storm is a result of a deep area of low pressure developing over the Atlantic Ocean bringing winds of 80 mph and waves as high as 32ft – conditions which have wreaked destruction across the UK. Despite efforts from the Environment Agency who released daily flood warnings, many residents haven’t have enough time to prepare for the bad weather. As sea-levels rose, the worst to be affected were coastal towns such as Norfolk, Suffolk and Kent.
Sir David King, the government’s special representative on climate change, responded to the recent floods by stating, ‘priority should be given to much more funding to create a better situation so we can face up to flooding in a proper manner on the British Isles.’ King claims that expenditure needs to double to £1bn a year by 2020 to manage the problem more effectively, as extreme weather is likely to occur more frequently.
Climate changes as a result of global warming are said to be the cause behind the recent storm surges. With the added low pressure and the stronger winds to contend with, what is being put in place to protect the UK from such changes? With stormy weather set to continue, the Prime Minister released a statement saying that the UK would see a record level of money invested on flood defences ‘guaranteed right out into 2020 so [the Environment Agency] can really plan for the future’.