Controlled Waters and Climate Change – New guidance issued

Climate change has the potential to significantly impact the predicted risks posed by land contamination in certain scenarios.

Climate science is a broad and complex area of study. The UK Met Office defines climate change as “large-scale, long-term shift in the planet’s weather patterns and average temperatures”. A number of human-induced factors have been linked to climatic change. Leading authorities project that climatic change in the UK will result in more extreme events such as:

  • intense rainfall and storm events resulting in flash floods;
  • hotter, drier summers with a higher likelihood of heat waves due to higher temperatures;
  • increased potential evaporation due to higher summer temperatures and consequently a potential increase in drought conditions;
  • milder, wetter, winters and potentially increased groundwater recharge;
  • and rising sea levels.

The Society of Brownfield Risk Assessment (SoBRA) has recently published a report on incorporating climate change considerations into controlled waters risk assessment. The document presents practical guidance on how to include for the potential effects of climate change in controlled waters risk assessment for land contamination.

The report compiles SoBRA members collective knowledge and understanding of climate change information sources and potential impacts on pollution risk to controlled waters. It sets out the regulatory context, reviews international guidance on the topic, and sets out an approach for a qualitative appraisal at Preliminary Risk Assessment (PRA) and the use of “what if” scenarios at Generic Quantitative Risk Assessment (GQRA). It also identifies the current limitations of commonly used Detailed Qualitative Risk Assessment (DQRA) models and steps to mitigate these.

There are many ways in which ESP are trying to help fight against climate change and make conscious steps towards a better future.

  • We embrace a hybrid working model across a 4 Day week, working from home where possible to reduce our carbon footprint and use of resources.
  • Solar panels are installed at our Head Office in Cardiff, reducing our grid energy use.
  • Donation to the World Land Trust’s initiative to ‘Buy An Acre’ and ‘Plant A Tree’ (read more, here)
  • ESP joined the SME Climate Hub Campaign, and committed to becoming a UK Business Climate Action Leader

The Geological Society Policy Statement on Climate Change states that “Observations from the geological record show that atmospheric CO2 concentrations are now at their highest levels in at least the past 3 million years.”

Together, there are various human-induced changes that can be done to reduce these levels and provide a better future for the next generation.

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