Recent impacts from climate change in the UK

Over the last 10-15 years the UK has suffered from a number of extreme climate events, including:


  • Following an unusually wet April, heavy rainfall over Easter caused widespread river flooding across Anglia, the Midlands, Wales and the Thames basin. Five people lost their lives and 1,500 people were evacuated, 4,500 domestic properties and 522 industrial premises were damaged, and insurance claims exceeded £500 million.
  • 2000 was the wettest year in England and Wales for 270 years and caused widespread flooding. Financial losses were estimated at £1 billion; 11,000 properties were flooded, thousands were evacuated, many businesses were forced to close, water and power supplies were disrupted, roads were closed, and train services were suspended with some lines closing.
  • Prolonged heat wave in Western Europe in 2003, reportedly to have directly led to an estimated 35,000 deaths.
  • In August heavy rain caused rivers to overtop their banks allowing water to rush into Boscastle. 80 homes and businesses and around 100 cars were damaged or destroyed costing £5 million. Business interruptions cost £5 – 10 million.
  • Floods in Carlisle caused by intensive heavy rain in the River Eden catchment; killing 3 people, flooding 1,800 properties, damaging 1,500 cars and causing estimated damages of £250 million.
  • Was the warmest year on record in the UK with extensive hosepipe bans in England.
  • Widespread summer flooding across Yorkshire and Humberside, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, and Oxfordshire in 2007 affected 55,000 homes, killed 13 people and cost the economy £3.2 billion (in 2007 prices). Over 40,000 hectares of agricultural land were inundated causing £50 million damage; 14,500 households were provided with temporary accommodation and critical national infrastructure suffered £674 million damage.
  • Extensive flooding in Ottery St Mary (Devon) following severe hailstorm.
  • The Lake District in Cumbria was inundated with 175mm of rain in less than 24 hours affecting hundreds of properties and leading to widespread evacuations in towns and villages across the area.
  • Extensive hosepipe bans in England following dry winter 2009-2010.
  • Was the 2nd warmest year on record in the UK.
  • Extensive hosepipe ban in Spring following a dry winter 2011-2012. However, summer 2012 was the wettest on record in the UK with repeated flood episodes adversely affecting many regions, including the South West.