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Could an increase in flooding be linked to population growth?

Here at, we like to keep up to date with news and developments surrounding our specialist areas. Flood and fire restoration is one such service that calls for us to be in the know, and to share our knowledge with others. So read on to see the newest developments in UK flooding. 

According to new research, the recent increase in flooding across the UK can be attributed to an increase in population and urbanisation; the study revealed that major flood events are being reported more frequently, but this also correlates with a rise in population and building in flood risk areas. 

In arguably one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, a research team from the University of Southampton looked at data sets from 1884 to 2013. They found an ascending trend in flooding, “with events appearing more frequently towards the end of the 20th century, peaking in 2012 when annual rainfall was the second highest in over 100 years.” 

Interestingly, the rise appears to coincide with population growth, from 38.2 million to 59.1 million, and the exponential rise in houses, from 7.7 million to 24.8 million.

Speaking to the BBC, Derek Clarke, one of the authors of the study, commented: "It's a very complicated picture. There are many factors we can't take into account - but it is clear that when you take population growth and building out of the equation, there has been no increase in major floods - in fact there is no pattern at all over 100 years."

However, Clarke stressed that the research did not categorically rule out a link between the rise of flooding in the UK and climate change. 

He said, "Society clearly needs to continue spending on flood defences because there are larger numbers of people at risk. And they must be very aware to acknowledge that with smaller building schemes in vulnerable areas, you need to take precautions."

Though the study has revealed a significant variation in the flood figures of the decades measured, the effect of flood defences and increased flood spending remains unclear. While upgrades to artificial defences may have increased, natural defences may have declined in the same amount of time. 

Professor Robert Nicholls added, "These observations should not stop concern about future flood impacts, especially in coastal areas where faster sea-level rises are expected, and areas potentially exposed to higher rainfall intensities. Future flood risk may be very sensitive to changes in funding or management approaches, and this has important implications for decision makers."

If you should ever find yourself on the receiving end of a flood, be it moderate or severe, then it is likely that you will need to seek professional help in order to get everything back the way it should be.

Here at Relkogroup we have many years’ experience in flood and fire restoration, and we will work with you to ensure that your home or business is restored to its former glory, as quickly as possible.

Further details of our services can be found online, but if you have any specific questions or queries relating to your current circumstances, then get in touch today; our friendly staff will be on hand to advise you any way they can!