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Should we ban building on flood plains?
Should we ban building on flood plains?
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In most cultures people have a natural affinity with water, and consequently often seek to place their dwellings in close proximity to it. This can be seen in the high land values that coastal or riverside property attracts. Unfortunately doing this has some inherent drawbacks, as these areas may not make the most secure places to build our homes. Paul Parker reports ...


This is a five page article. First published in June 2006

We have come to rely on a network of flood defences which traditionally have sought to control, divert, and bend the natural water cycle to our will. When these defences fail, the consequences are all too serious, as recently witnessed in the city of New Orleans (above) in 2005, and in large parts of Europe in 2003.

One of the problems is that climate change is having an impact on weather and sea levels. More rain means that drainage systems have to cope with higher volumes of water and subsequently risks of flooding are expected to become that much greater (ODPM, 2005).

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