Linkages at International, National and Local Levels
Edited by Frank Maes, An Cliquet, Willemien du Plessis and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray
Chapter 11: Climate change, the EU Floods Directive and biodiversity protection: Lessons from the Scheldt on land use planning as an adaptive measure
Climate change is expected to lead to changes in weather patterns around the globe as well as more extreme events, such as floods. With a view towards managing and mitigating flood risk, the European Union (EU) has adopted specific legislation in this area. This chapter looks at the EU Floods Directive in the light of the experience of Flanders in using planning instruments to mitigate flood risk in the Scheldt river basin and to develop ‘wet’ nature protection zones. It considers the usefulness of land use planning systems for dealing with changes in climate and for preventing and/or responding to flooding in spatially developed areas at risk. It also considers how such flood risk management and mitigation measures provide opportunities for measures to protect biodiversity and how use of natural processes can support adaptation to climate change. In recent years, many regions within the EU have experienced unusual rainfall patterns and episodes of flooding. In August 2002, a week of continuous heavy rains led to a so-called 100-year flood, which killed dozens, displaced tens of thousands and caused billions of euros in damage in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Croatia. Several rivers in the region, including the Vltava, Elbe and Danube reached record highs. Prague was hit by the worst floods in 200 years, and the German Länder of Thuringia and Saxony were severely damaged by the flooding Elbe.
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