The Oxford to Cambridge Flood Risk Investment Study (FRIS) is a pilot project in the Environment Agency’s “FCERM Strategy – adaptive approaches frontrunners” portfolio. The portfolio’s aim was to fund and support frontrunner projects which could share adaptive approaches learning to help build capacity within the organisation.
The Government has identified a clear transformational opportunity to maximize the area’s economic potential. With the right interventions and investment, economic forecasts suggest that by 2050 economic output could more than double, with over a million additional jobs.
However around 25% of land in the region is currently at risk of flooding including 83,000 homes and key economic infrastructure. Future climate change and growth will only increase flood risk exposure with potentially up to 183,000 homes at risk by 2050. This could result in abortive investment within the area as the impacts of climate change wipe out the economic benefits of any investment made. For example, current day annual average damages from flooding are estimated to be around £1.94 billion, which could increase to between £2.73 and £3.91 billion by 2050 if there were no new flood resilience investment.
As reported in ‘Living better with a changing climate Report to Ministers under the Climate Change Act Date: October 2021’ if we fail to invest now in climate resilience and adaptation, people won’t be forgiving about paying a higher, avoidable, premium in a few years. It is more cost effective to invest early in climate resilience than to live with the costs of inaction.
One of the recommendations in the report is that adaptation needs both public and private finance. In an uncertain world, investors want steady long-term returns and more and more want these to also deliver for nature and the climate in line with the UK Green Finance Strategy. This is an opportunity for the UK, as the City of London is a leader in global green finance.