Last reviewed 18 January 2022

Damage to business properties from flooding and other climate impacts likely to rise by 27% by 2050, Government warns.

The Government’s latest climate change risk assessment argues there is strong evidence that, even under low warming scenarios, the UK will be subject to significant and costly impacts unless significant further action is taken now.

Infrastructure services are already vulnerable to substantial damage from extreme weather, causing major disruption to businesses and distribution networks. Natural carbon sinks such as peatlands and woodlands are also at risk because of climate change, the report says.

Storm Arwen is the latest in a long list of damaging weather events over recent years, and these events will become more frequent as global temperatures continue to rise, scientists warn. Climate Adaptation Minister Jo Churchill said that whilst the Government has made some progress, more needs to be done on adaptation.

“By recognising the further progress that needs to be made, we’re committing to significantly increasing our efforts and setting a path towards the third National Adaptation Programme which will set ambitious and robust policies to make sure we are resilient to climate change into the future.” Churchill added.

Government advisors, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), warns that unless we take further action now, even a 2°C rise will mean annual damages from flooding for non-residential properties across the UK will increase by 27% by 2050 and 40% by 2080. At a 4°C temperature rise, this increases to 44% and 75% respectively.

For eight individual risks, economic damages could exceed £1 billion per year each by 2050 with a temperature rise of 2°C, with the cost of climate change to the UK rising to at least 1% of GDP by 2045.

The Government says it is already investing a record £5.2 billion to build 2000 new flood defences by 2027, and continues to work on the Green Finance Strategy to align private sector financial flows with sustainable and resilient grow.

Greg Hands, Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, said the UK’s net zero strategy must include action on adaptation “to ensure we are resilient to climate change in the future”.

“This includes building on our strong progress to deliver a reliable, home-grown renewable energy sector, provide highly skilled jobs, and secure investment as we build a cleaner future,” he added.

The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2022 report is available here.