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Europe outlines flood action

Friday 27 April 2007

waterThe European Parliament and EU Council of Ministers have reached an agreement on the assessment and management of flood risks, in what amounts to a pre-emptive act against climate change. The new directive, which was originally proposed in 2006, will require Member States to identify the river basins and associated coastal areas which are potential risks, and produce risk-maps and management plans for the locations. The directive will be implemented in a three-stage process, with obligatory compliance to the various requirements by 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Since 1998, floods in Europe have caused around 700 deaths, displaced 500,000 people and led to insurance claims thought to be around €25bn. The predicted increase in extreme weather conditions due to climate change is expected to worsen this further.

“Flood risk and the associated economic damage are likely to increase in Europe in the coming decades,” commented Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. “Even if we are successful in limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celcius, climate change will have serious impacts in Europe and elsewhere. The best way to reduce the costs of adapting to climate change is to take early action, the Flood Directive will help the European Union to do so.”

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