EA report finds link between flood risk exposure and social deprivation inequalities

Research commissioned by the Environment Agency’s Chief Scientist’s Group has provided in-depth evidence of a link between flood risk exposure and social deprivation inequalities.

The report found that:

  • There is an inequality in terms of social deprivation and flood risk exposure from all sources of flooding. In other words, people from areas classed as more deprived disproportionately face more flood risk than those living in less deprived areas. This is the case when taking into account nearby flood defences.
  • Deprived coastal communities still experience significant inequalities for high and medium likelihood of flooding. These inequalities within coastal communities are more pronounced than in inland ones.
  • The inequalities found within rural areas is greater than in urban areas. This is presumably because if an urban area is protected, due to its larger size, there is more chance that there is a greater mix of more and less deprived neighbourhoods. Rural areas are also more sparsely populated and therefore their economic welfare benefits tend to be less than those of more densely populated areas.
  • The size of the inequality is smaller than found by a comparable 2006 study for the Environment Agency.

The findings from this report suggest that recent investment has been relatively
successful in addressing social deprivation and flood risk exposure inequality
for the 20% most deprived areas in England. There are, however, still significant
inequalities in rural and coastal areas in England.

A pdf of the full report can be read here.



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