Heavy falls of rain over long periods can put almost any community at risk of pluvial flooding, that is flooding caused by surface run-off that is too much for the ground to absorb. Some work funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation links pluvial flooding to social deprivation and injustice in urban areas, here are the key findings:
1. Pluvial flood risk accounts for approximately one-third of flood risk in the UK. Approximately 2 million people in UK urban areas are exposed to an annual pluvial flood risk of 0.5 per cent or greater ('1-in-200 year' event).

2. An additional 1.2 million people in urban areas could be put at risk by 2050 due to a combination of climate change and population growth.

3. From a social justice perspective, it is important to know the characteristics of the population at risk, not just the number of properties in an affected area.

4. Settlements across the UK with higher rainfall tend to have greater levels of social deprivation, although the differences are small.

5. Changes to the cost and availability of insurance in the future have the potential to alter the socio-economic composition of flood risk areas and/or blight certain areas.

6. Pluvial flood risk can be heavily mitigated in new developments through a combination of avoiding the highest risk locations, investment in drainage systems, flood-proof building design and innovative surface water management schemes.

7. A key challenge remains for existing built-up areas at high risk, although surface water management can ameliorate risk when opportunities for redevelopment arise.

8. While recent flood management legislation around the UK has improved the priority given to pluvial flood risk, concerns still exist about partnership working, uncertainty about levels of risk (which can hinder planning), competing demands and capacity to respond.

Houston, D., Werritty, A., Bassett, D., Geddes, A., Hoolachan, A. and McMillan, M. 2010 Pluvial (rain-related) flooding in urban areas: the invisible hazard Joseph Rowntree Foundation York

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