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Climate change: the risk for property in the UK

This report provides recommendations to the property sector on how to tackle the impact of climate change.

The UCL Environment Institute has analysed the physical impact of anticipated climate change on UK property during the 21st century. These include:

  • Occupiers of buildings will be more prone to heat stress during the more frequent heat waves. This could potentially disrupt activities in high street shops, offices, warehousing and industry, as well as affecting the well-being of households.
  • There will be an increased risk of flooding in locations vulnerable to rivers bursting their banks. But in urban locations there will also be increased exposure to the risk of flash flooding, as the run-off from hard surfaces overwhelms the capacity of urban drainage systems.
  • Water shortages will affect areas with less rainfall, affecting occupiers through water constraints and increased costs.
  • Ground movement will threaten the stability of buildings in areas where properties are located on clay soils and the standards of construction, particularly with regard to foundations, prove inadequate.
  • The infrastructure systems that underpin all urban activities will also be affected. Transport, energy supply, water supply, sewerage and urban drainage systems will all struggle to cope with heat waves, higher wind  the UCL Environment Institute analysis shows that the southern parts of the UK will be most affected by climate change.

The main conclusions of the report are:

  • There is an urgent need for the property sector to set in place means for being regularly updated on the impacts of future climate change. The scientific evidence in this area is continually evolving.
  • The UCL Environment Institute analysis has shown that different parts of the UK will feel the impacts of climate change very differently. The UK property sector needs to understand this in more depth.
  • The UK property sector needs research at a more finely-grained level that will highlight the impacts of climate change in specific localities, taking all local features into account.

Page last modified on 23 feb 11 16:19