National flood map provides future climate change flood scenarios

Flood modelling experts Ambiental have partnered in a collaborative innovation project with data specialist Landmark Information and gas network Wales & West Utilities, to launch Great Britain's first national flood map, which incorporates current and future predictive flood scenarios for the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s.

Delivered via a new Climate Change Adaptation Reporting service, it provides asset managers, infrastructure owners, land owners, their advisors and reporting organisations with the ability to understand future flood risks on existing assets and infrastructure, and create a plan to adapt in a phased, responsible and appropriate manner, removing the need to create manual estimations.

Wales & West Utilities are the first utility company in the UK to use the data as part of its UK climate change adaptation risk assessment, reporting and investment requirements, as per recent government guidelines. The dataset incorporates the latest river flow, rainfall, sea level rise and climate change predictions available, and allows the creation of unique, innovative new layers, providing insight into flood hazards and the resulting impacts on property, river banks, transport networks and bridges. 

Using the service, Wales & West Utilities can assess how flood risk and river erosion is predicted to vary locally and regionally at different time periods and under different emissions scenarios – and the impact that could have on the gas network where pipes may be exposed by river bed and bank erosion. This will allow the company - which serves 7.5 million people across Wales and the south west of England - to invest to protect the network earlier and at a lower cost. 

"Being able to analyse future flood scenarios is hugely beneficial for us, so we can determine the impact of climate change on our gas network and the services we deliver to our customers," said Oliver Lancaster, Future of Energy Project Manager for Wales & West Utilities. "Our customers depend on our network to deliver gas to heat homes and power businesses, so it’s essential that we’re prepared for the impact of climate change. The first national flood map helps us to do this and we’re delighted to be the first utilities company to apply the model to our business."

"The potential for improved planning, risk mitigation and adaptation as a result of this launch is considerable," said Dr Justin Butler, CEO of Ambiental. "Today, hazards resulting from the weather play a fundamental part of many businesses, particularly for utilities companies who face risk to supply and transportation from droughts and floods. In a changing climate, existing systems and practices may not be adequate and it is important to take action using intelligence that can be relied upon to make informed decisions."