Planning for a region resilient to climate change

25 September 2020


Anglian Water's Flood Risk Manager Jonathan Glerum responds to the publication of the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England:


Flooding and coastal erosion can cause misery for communities – and they are a challenging reality in our region as the climate changes. So we fully welcome approval by Parliament today of the government’s new National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Strategy for England. We’re determined to work with other agencies to ensure that the East is resilient in the face of these threats.


Over the past five years we have delivered 40 schemes to protect vital parts of our water and sewerage infrastructure from coastal erosion and extreme weather events. Over the next five years that will more than double as we ramp up our resilience work. These will include projects to protect vital pumping stations and water recycling centres on the Norfolk coast, the Thames Estuary and the Humber Bank.


Alongside these operational schemes we’re working with communities on projects in places like low-lying Canvey Island in Essex where we’re installing sustainable drainage systems and rainwater harvesting schemes in homes and schools to slow the flow of water and reduce the risk of flooding during heavy rain. In Great Yarmouth we’re working with the National Flood Forum to test how effective, and acceptable to customers, leaky water butts are at managing storm water flows whilst providing water for gardening. And in Newmarket we’re creating a ‘smarter drop street’ with systems that capture and recycle rainwater to flush toilets, and that also drain down in advance of storms to help prevent local sewer flooding.


These and many more schemes will see us, and our colleagues at the Environment Agency, in local authorities, internal drainage boards and in other organisations, working hard to deliver both grey and increasingly green and smart engineering solutions to safeguard the most at risk parts of the region, whilst helping the communities we serve to adapt their homes and streets to prepare for heavier rain storms.


The climate is changing, and in response the most important thing is become a net zero carbon business, which we have committed to do by 2030. But we can still expect as much as a four degree rise in global temperatures this century, which would be devastating for a flat and low lying region like ours.  We need to increase the pace of change, and use Covd-19 as a springboard to change our towns and cities to how they will need to be by 2050.  Zero carbon communities that are resilient to climate risks.


We stand ready to work with the Environment Agency and all our partners to make this happen.