Spatial Planning and Climate change (Flood Risk)mgmu
Author – Prof. Naheed Mir Ali
JNEC, Department of Architecture
Climate change and properties of variability have become more significant environmental concern worldwide from 21st century. Because of increase in greenhouse gas emissions, changes in the seasonality of rainfall, solar radiations changes in land surface properties, rise in sea level and increase in erosion. Above mentioned causes of climate change lead in result of Natural disasters, also a major concern of the environment and sustainable development at national, regional and local level. It is stated that, “climate change policies can be more effective when consistently embedded within boarder strategies designed to make national and regional development paths more sustainable” (IPCC, 2004). To save the future, it is necessary to identify and analyse the key issues such as impacts, adaptation and vulnerability of climate change within the context of sustainable development.
Recently the planning system at national, regional and local level faced significant changes and developed new policies and strategies for flood risk and its management scheme. This became the need of the European and United Kingdom government. Where the spatial planning at different levels involved. The composition of flood risk and climate change enhanced new challenges and new factors for spatial planning in both urban and rural level (FRMRC, 2007). Spatial planning deal with the critical approaches to flood risk management and adaptations techniques. It is stated that “We use the term spatial planning in its broader sense to refer to actions and interventions that are based on critical thinking about space and place” (RTPI, 2003). For an example, the study from European commission (2008) showed that 10-15% of United Kingdom coast line is comprised of 10km long stretch that are below 5m elevation and that 300km (16% of coastal area) is subject to erosion. The study also suggested that 69% of gross domestic products are situated within the 50km of the coast line and 78% of the country population live within the zone. This aspect became necessary to identify in planning process and adaptation through planning policy guidelines for future security. It is also suggested that without adaptation, the United Kingdom could experience the major flood hazards from rise in sea level (Hanson et al., 2010, Richards and Nicholls, 2009).
Therefore, the climate change factors and flood risks raises the technical, theoretical and ethical issues to planners at local and regional level. They were asked to reconcile the issues and were need to address some of the questions while policy making process. Such as what will be the low carbon settlement? what are the barriers to effective planning for development in flood risk zones identified by the local planning authorities. They were also asked to conduct the detail appraisal to understand the issues of climate change, there impact (such as storms, floods, drought), suitable adaptations (such as raising of flood dykes and the application of beach nourishment) and vulnerability, should implement these issues while preparing policies and strategies at local, regional and national levels.
Responding to adaptation of climate change impacts and mitigation of flood risks are the major and important priorities for the regional and local level authorities for developing and delivering policies in many jurisdictions, where spatial planning plays a significant role to identify climate change impacts and vulnerability (PPS 25, SPG). Also, spatial planning has been characterized as critical mechanism tool for adaptation to climate change. It is suggested that relationship between climate change and spatial planning helps to address the challenges and adaptation according to them and offers theoretical and political explanations to planning policies and legislations at international level, United Kingdom (within the context of Southeast coast of England) and Europe (within the context of Netherland) levels to prepare the future strategies (Wilson, E., Piper, J., 2011). Following are the case-studies from UK-southeast England and Europe-Netherland, to support the planning system and responses to climate changes impacts so far for urban developments to reduce energy use, adaptations for future, vulnerability ratio to avoid floods, loss of biodiversity and water shortage in urban & rural areas.
- In context of Southeast coast of England, almost 5.2million population are living under the flood risk zones, because of rapid growth of development of resort towns, people are seeking retirement homes, increase demand of employment opportunity and tourist’s destination. Currently the sea level in southeast coast region of England is 10cm higher than in 2000 and experienced high level of hazard and flood risks than other decades. The south east coast also experiences glacial rebound from the last Ice age, Because of this reason it also in sinking situation at about 1mm per year (Hulme et al., 2002). Number of agencies and authorities has been participated to provide the mitigation and adaptation to the coastal and flood risk zones (local authorities, Defra and the environment agencies).
- It is examined that the main threat to climate change was not having proper knowledge of sustainable city and sustainable life. To bring awareness, the local authority and regional authorities developed policies and proposal in respect to reduce the effect of CO2 emissions with the help of new development mode by at least 20% by 2010 and 25% by 2015 and by 80% by 2050. Measures to mitigate and adapt to current effects of climate change was implemented through planning applications. Such as sustainable drainage system in new development, high standards of water efficiency in new and existing areas, flood storage capacity and developing new water resources, encouraging people to use renewable energy and opportunity to develop sustainable flood management. The main impact of flooding was on the population, houses and transport. This require the positive planning approach, because of this reason the government merge these areas to the environmental planning, transport planning and water management planning.
- It is suggested that impacts and vulnerability of climate change is not clear but the coastal area having some of opportunity for development. With reference to National Planning Policy Framework and its supporting technical guidance, local plans from local authority should develop the strategic flood risk assessments (SFRA’s) and should consider the risk of flooding.
- In 2008, the Catchment Flood Management Plans, Shoreline Management Plans (Policy CS03), Surface Water Management Plans and River Basin Management Plans prepared in accordance with the Water Framework Directive (Regional spatial strategies, PPS25, 2009) and trying to implement in new development at coastal and flood risk zones at regional and local level. Recently to avoid the floods, Beach management plan (BMP) was developed at regional level. The main key objective of BMP is to reduce the risk of coastal flooding and erosion at coast line and improve business opportunities at coastal side (BMP, 2005). Currently the BMP management includes recycling and reprofiling to achieve design crest heights and widths. Also, in 2014, the marine planning term were introduced in planning. The main aim of marine planning was to guide the directions for decision making process at local level to include the sustainable future for coastal areas. It helps to guide the most suitable location for different activities, to use the coast area in sustainable manner, improving employment scale, and approaches to marine management.
- It is recommended that hazards from floods can reduce from short term progress because the impacts from climate change are different at every time where longer term adaptations cause the inaccurate contribution to sustainable development. In context of short-term process, the hard-structural engineering solutions are implemented. An active process of shoreline management is the sustaining process which was reducing the increasingly heavy effects from rise in sea levels. It is said that, in view of the anticipated impacts of climate change, it
will become more difficult and less economically viable to maintain current levels of protection afforded by coastal defence structures. If defence structures are not maintained adequately or improved according to the implications of climate change, it is likely that coastal hazards will increase and larger populations will become vulnerable to coastal risks.
- At national level, the UK government responses to these challenges to secure the coast line in 2014 and following actions were took place: Managing the risks of flooding and coastal erosion through management strategy; Development of tools and techniques for raising awareness of coastal change, retreating defences at coastal zones (Defra, coastal path finder, 2012). For an example the tidal surge and coastal flooding experienced in 2013-2014 in UK, have raised so many questions about the future security and standards to protect coast from floods and erosions. Like local council develop their internal sustainable drainage system, constructing and developing tidal wall scheme and carrying out the surveys to proposed the work on beach, Beach management scheme were developed to avoid the business loss in such circumstances, the flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy for local authorities were developed.
- In the Netherlands, climate change impacts are on high scale. It is considered that Netherland is the most vulnerable place in Europe, since the majority of Dutch people live in areas which are located in below sea level and near to coast line (Kolen, Engel, Van der Most &Van Ruiten 2009). Climate change is commonly divided into two research and policy fields, the first being mitigation and the second adaptation. The first discipline deals with strategies for reducing the pace of climate change by reducing carbon emissions. Adaptation deals with ways to adapt to the effects of climate change and is of central interest to the Dutch authorities.
- The Netherlands has a long tradition of protecting its land area from the sea and rivers, its water management boards (Waterschappen) being the oldest governing bodies in the country. In the Dutch planning system, spatial planning plays a significant role.
In 2008, European commission said that Flood risk depends on spatial planning in various ways. First, the way river water discharge is accommodated is important for flood probability and damage. A different approach was chosen and policy was developed to construct new development with water surroundings. Moreover, anticipation of risks should govern policy instead of having policy react to water problems as they occur (Brouwer and Kind, 2005).
- However, in urban areas like Rotterdam, it is not always easy to deal with flood risk while simultaneously preserving urban and heritage space. Furthermore, spatial planning by the
central government has not integrally incorporated future climate change. It is not clear whether this rather dispersed way of governing urban policy takes sufficient account of the risk of floods. For example, new built-up areas have been constructed in areas located six metres below sea level, such as the area east of Rotterdam.
Second, urban planning determines the amount of value that is protected by dykes. For future land use system is highly characterized by flood risk assessment. In context of spatial planning of Netherland, the GIS based map was developing to identify the flood risk zones for future land use by 2040 (WLO, 2006). It is suggested that in future the urban development will occur in flood prone areas of Holland. Also, some alternatives development was also established such as constructing buildings at Dyke ring with high flood probabilities, extending 5km of coast line to improve the economic condition of city, as suggested that 70% of economic status of country based on coast zones. In the local planning policies following strategic policies were incorporated such as, Sewage treatment using a granular sludge reactor, Flood protection by an inflatable rubber dam, Water distribution between two rivers at high water and the Dyke and boulevard was constructed at coastal area which is the good example of good flood adaptation and combination safety walk ways and good architectural approach to the users and tourists.
An emerging approach and implemented policies to climate change and flood risks was in process, where to complete the need of local people the government at national level, regional and local level performing very well towards impact of flood risks and developing strategies. Complete protection through policies and planning will be beneficial from flood risks. Developing flood risk assessment and other assessments will help to evaluate the changes and adaptation techniques to the local and regional level. The strategies have to be set out with the help of spatial planning. Developing policies will not give the solution to climate change issues it has to implement at short term bases to avoid the high level of risks and hazards to the occupants and economical condition of country. Identifying future flood zones and developing planning application on that is the best way to provide solutions to the impact and vulnerability. I totally agree with the actions taken by national government in UK, they establish the possibilities of provisions to flood risks and their management tools with the help of technical and engineering solutions. This not only improves the economic condition of country but also peoples to respond in sustainable manner. It enhances the architecture and urban planning fields as mentioned in Netherland example of Dyke and boulevard construc