Report by RIBA and ICE says rising sea levels and frequent storms mean UK cities need to rethink flood defence strategy

The RIBA and the Institution for Civil Engineers are calling for a radical rethink of flood defences in a bid to tackle rising sea levels and increases in the frequency of storms.

Flooded homes

In a report ‘Facing up to Rising Sea Levels’, published today, flooding experts call for the government, planning authorities, architects and engineers, to act sooner rather than later.

The report says the extreme threat of flooding demands that extreme measures be taken.

The study considers a number of cities around the UK and the strategies for dealing with flooding including:

  • Retreat: moving "critical infrastructure" and housing to safer ground, allowing the water into parts of the city;
  • Defence: building city-wide sea defences to ensure water does not enter the existing urban area;
  • Attack: extending the existing coastline and building out on to the water.

The report concludes that fundamental changes are required and calls for strong political leadership, the introduction of new funding mechanisms for infrastructure development and changes to planning systems to do more to encourage integrated solutions and innovative long-term local strategies.