| 12 April 2024, Friday |

UK reveals new technology ‘spongy’ roads that soak up rain

The UK has unveiled the latest weapon in the fight against bad weather – “spongy” roads that soak up the rain, and now the English town has a new claim to fame after.

The new flood defense system, first pioneered in the Chinese city of Wuhan, will see selected roads transformed with permeable surfaces that absorb the surface water.

The technology will first be trialed in Slough, west of London, before it is potentially expanded to other areas.

Under the $125 million program, managed by Britain’s Environment Agency, the town will also use natural vegetation to improve drainage.

A further 24 schemes aimed at improving waterway defenses and coastal resilience will begin ahead of the two-week Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow in November.

The projects include the restoration of sub-tidal habitats like kelp beds, oyster reefs and seagrass in South Tyneside, while residents in Buckinghamshire will be asked to download an app to warn them of rising groundwater.

New sensor technology to detect rising water levels will also be used in Northumberland.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said the 25 projects will help shape future approaches in preparing communities for flooding and coastal change.

Emma Howard Boyd, chairwoman of the Environment Agency, called the project “extremely exciting” and said it could be replicated on a larger scale around the world if successful.

“What we learn will inform our approach to the climate crisis in the coming decades and it’s something to tell our international partners about at Cop26,” she said.

“I’m particularly interested in the projects that test the ability of nature-based projects to generate revenue.

“If successful, these could be scaled up by private finance around the world, helping to prepare for climate shocks, restore nature and create jobs.”

  • The National News