UK and Irish cities experienced record levels of rainfall in December 2015, bringing the question of critical infrastructure protection and city resilience to the top of the agenda for local and national governments across the region. Around 16,000 properties were flooded in the UK in December while 20,000 properties were protected by flood defences. Greater Manchester was particularly affected by Storm Eva, with 68.2mm of rain falling between 25 and 27 December. Two footbridges were washed away, one carrying a low pressure gas main, which subsequently exploded, leaving a number of homes without gas. Damage to infrastructure is likely to be in excess of £10 million.
Greater Manchester, as part of its role in the RESIN project, is working with RESIN research partner the University of Manchester to carry out a comprehensive city assessment in terms of climate change adaptation and resilience. The RESIN partnership between cities and scientists is an ideal opportunity for effective research into threats to infrastructure and for producing practical solutions that cities themselves have helped to create.
In November 2015, the University of Manchester produced a RESIN analysis of the hazards facing European cities arising from climate change. Primary causes were identified as sea level rise, flooding, heat-waves and drought. The study looks at how an area’s socio-economic and infrastructural characteristics can turn a climate event into a climate hazard. Crucially, this sheds light on which elements of climate-change related hazards can be controllable, allowing cities to adapt to a changing climate.
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