Damage costs caused by floods are expected to rise five-fold in Europe by 2050, say scientists.

Climate change and the construction of more buildings and infrastructure are both said to contribute to the trend. Over the next 36 years, the average frequency of catastrophic European floods is predicted to rise from one event every 16 years to one a decade.

But the worsening financial impact is likely to be proportionately far greater, largely due to economic development, according to new research. With more buildings, roads and railways susceptible to flood damage, the cost of flooding in the EU is forecast to rise from £4 billion a year to almost £20bn.

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Scientists arrived at the figure after an analysis that combined models of climate change and socio-economic development.