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F lood risk management and impact assessment – dealing with the extremes the weathermen cannot predict Karen Potter. Overview. Climate Change and Flood Risk Adaptation to Flood Risk The Contribution of Impact Assessment Flood Risk Management Policy Floodplain Restoration

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Flood risk management and impact assessment – dealing with the extremes the weathermen cannot predictKaren Potter

overview

Overview

  • Climate Change and Flood Risk
  • Adaptation to Flood Risk
  • The Contribution of Impact Assessment
  • Flood Risk Management Policy
  • Floodplain Restoration
  • Further Information and Guidance

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Fluvial flooding events in recent decades have become more frequent, extreme, damaging and costly (Moss & Monstadt, 2007; Werrity, 2006).

Boscastle, Cornwall, 2004

The UK has experienced an increase in winter rainfall over the past 45 years (UKCP09)

Source: Geographyalltheway.com

Source:Artcornwall.org

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Source: RNLI

Source: Guardian

Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, July 2007

  • The 2007 floods in Yorkshire and the Midlands:
  • 30,000 people (1 in 5 houses) were displaced from their homes in Hull
  • People unable to return to home for up to a year
  • More than 5 people died as a result of the floods
  • Damages ran into billions of pounds
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Climate Change and Flood Risk

Changes as small as a 2°C global temperature rise will have serious impacts:

  • Rising sea levels
  • Extreme events like heavy rainfall
  • Communities across the UK may struggle to cope with the effects of warmer summers and wetter winters

Issues identified for the majority of regions:

  • Increased risk of fluvial and coastal flooding
  • Increase in urban flood risk
  • Drainage systems overwhelmed
  • Increased erosion risk

The South West:

  • Damage to coastal amenities
  • Loss of natural assets such as beaches, dunes and wetlands

(UKCIP09)

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Adaptation to Flood Risk

  • The severity of impacts will depend on how we can ‘adapt’

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines adaptation:

“adjustments in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities”

  • Flooding cannot be wholly avoided, but putting the correct measures in place can reduce the risk

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The Contribution of Impact Assessment

Impact Assessment can make an important contribution in preparing for climate change and reducing the impact of flood risk:

  • A valid and objective tool to assess the impact of flood risk on the plan/project…..
  • …..and of the plan/project on flood risk
  • Help plans/projects be more resistant to flood risk, through location and design
  • Take account of measures to adapt to increased levels of flood risk

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The Contribution of Impact Assessment

  • Find ‘no regret’ or ‘low regret’ adaptation options

“The future is very uncertain and cannot be predicted. It is therefore important to develop policies that can cope with a range of different outcomes –and which can adapt flexibly as the situation evolves.” (Foresight Future Flooding, 2004)

  • Avoid adaptation constraining decisions, e.g. development in the floodplain
  • Find ‘win-win’ options

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Flood Risk Management Policy

  • The major flooding events of 1998, 2000 and 2007

have generated numerous reports and policy reviews

at the national in England and Wales

  • The concern over climate change and the increase

in the severity, frequency of flooding events

has led to the reappraisal of past practices of

flood defence

  • Most notably:

- the Government’s strategic response “Making Space for Water” (2004)

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Flood Risk Management Policy

  • A more holistic approach to ensure adaptability to climate change
  • Better management of risk – flood warning and awareness; improve resilience and resistance
  • Land use planning - FRAs
  • Rural issues – creation of wetlands, washlands, managed realignment
  • Integrated urban drainage management – sustainable urban drainage
  • Coastal issues

Most institutions have scientists in discrete departments….there are many where if you are in biology, you are not allowed to speak to those nasty folk in chemistry, much less to sociologists, who are someplace else and you wouldn’t know what to say to them even if you met them (Tabak, 2004).

Planning is a vehicle which cannot be fixed by only looking at the engine. You need to change the way the machine is driven (McNulty, 2003, quoted in Shaw, 2006).

There are people who have an unbelievable capacity to take any policy framework and adapt it so that they can carry on doing the same things that they have always done before(Taylor,2005)

Research/policy/practice gaps can be particularly difficult to bridge when a large scale shift in thinking is required.

Researchers’ “so-called policy options” often contain idealised reasoning that make implementing policy “far from trivial” (Omamo, 2004)

http://www.levenmetwater.nl

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Flood Risk Management Policy

  • The negative impact of the large scale uncoupling of rivers from their functional floodplain has become apparent
  • There is an evident need to work with natural processes, including the reconnection of rivers to their floodplains to restore their natural hydrological functions

Source: Friendsoftheriver.org

“Squeezing rivers into pipes and underground tunnels is not a solution, and will often lead to worse flooding in the future. We need to make space for rivers to work naturally with floodplains that hold and convey the excess water during floods” (Environment Agency, 2006).

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Floodplain Restoration

Source: Blackwell & Maltby, 2005

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Floodplain Restoration

The River Quaggy – “a river that is gradually submerged and subsumed within built development” (Copas, 2006)

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Floodplain Restoration

Sutcliffe Park – the ‘Anti flood’ Park

  • Surface of the park lowered and shaped to create an enhanced ‘natural’ floodplain
  • Takes 22 hours to reach its capacity of 85,000 m3 (35 Olympic swimming pools)
  • Alleviating flooding of 600 homes and businesses, and over 4000 people living and working downstream in Greenwich and Lewisham

Source: K.Potter

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Floodplain Restoration

  • Restoration schemes can achieve multiple objectives:
  • Distributing and replenish soil nutrients
  • Improve water quality
  • Provide habitats
  • Provision of crops and timber
  • Attractive landscapes
  • Opportunities for leisure and recreational pursuits

Source: K. Potter

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Boscastle, Cornwall

Source: K.Potter

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Converting Rhetoric into Reality?

…….but

  • New policy prescriptions for adaptation to climate change on flood risk management face a complex series of institutional barriers to implementing the necessary land use change
  • Practice remains in its infancy and is not keeping apace with the policy rhetoric
  • Climate change – data incongruity and overload meet – we have met the limits of human knowledge
  • Institutionalisation – human behaviour becomes fixed in its responses and actions
  • There are people who have an unbelievable capacity to take any policy framework and adapt it so that they can carry on doing the same things that they have always done before(Taylor,2005)

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Further Information and Guidance

-UK Climate Impacts Programme http://www.ukcip.org.uk/

-Environment Agency www.environment-agency.gov.uk

Flood maps, Catchment Flood Management Plans, Shoreline Management Plans,

River Basin Management Plans

-DCLG www.communities.gov.uk

Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk

Planning Policy Statement (PPS): Planning and Climate Change

-Foresight Future Flood and Coastal Defence http://www.foresight.gov.uk/OurWork/CompletedProjects/Flood/Unknown/Projectsummary.asp

-Defra www.defra.gov.uk

Flood and Water Management Bill

Future Water

Making Space for Water

-Ecoflood http://levis.sggw.waw.pl/ecoflood/

-Flood Risk for New Development Framework & Guidance for Assessment & Management http://www.hydres.co.uk/

-Flood Risk Management Research Consortium http://www.floodrisk.org.uk/

-Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research http://www.tyndall.manchester.ac.uk/

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