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F lood risk management and impact assessment – dealing with the extremes the weathermen cannot predict Karen Potter.

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Presentation on theme: "F lood risk management and impact assessment – dealing with the extremes the weathermen cannot predict Karen Potter."— Presentation transcript:

1 F lood risk management and impact assessment – dealing with the extremes the weathermen cannot predict Karen Potter

2 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment / 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 1 Mm mm

3 Boscastle, Cornwall, 2004 Source: Geographyalltheway.com Source: Artcornwall.org Fluvial flooding events in recent decades have become more frequent, extreme, damaging and costly (Moss & Monstadt, 2007; Werrity, 2006). The UK has experienced an increase in winter rainfall over the past 45 years (UKCP09)

4 Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, July 2007 Source: RNLI Source: Guardian 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

5 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment / 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) 2 15 Climate Change and Flood Risk

6 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment /  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 4 15 Adaptation to Flood Risk

7 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & 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… The Contribution of Impact Assessment  …..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

8 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & 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 6 15 The Contribution of Impact Assessment

9 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment /  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) 7 15 Flood Risk Management Policy

10 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment / Researchers’ “so-called policy options” often contain idealised reasoning that make implementing policy “far from trivial” (Omamo, 2004) Research/policy/practice gaps can be particularly difficult to bridge when a large scale shift in thinking is required 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) 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).  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 Flood Risk Management Policy

11 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment / 9 15 Source: Friendsoftheriver.org 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 Flood Risk Management Policy “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).

12 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment / Source: Blackwell & Maltby, 2005 Floodplain Restoration 10 15

13 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment / The River Quaggy – “a river that is gradually submerged and subsumed within built development” (Copas, 2006) Floodplain Restoration 11 15

14 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment / Source: K.Potter Surface of the park lowered and shaped to create an enhanced ‘natural’ floodplainSurface 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)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 LewishamAlleviating flooding of 600 homes and businesses, and over 4000 people living and working downstream in Greenwich and Lewisham Sutcliffe Park – the ‘Anti flood’ Park Floodplain Restoration 12 15

15 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment / 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 Floodplain Restoration

16 Boscastle, Cornwall Source: K.Potter

17 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment / …….but Converting Rhetoric into Reality?  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)

18 Ireland & UK IAIA Branch Event, Met Office, Exeter 2009 Karen Potter-Flood Risk & Impact Assessment / Further Information and Guidance -UK Climate Impacts Programme -Environment Agency Flood maps, Catchment Flood Management Plans, Shoreline Management Plans, River Basin Management Plans -DCLG Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk Planning Policy Statement (PPS): Planning and Climate Change -Foresight Future Flood and Coastal Defence -Defra Flood and Water Management Bill Future Water Making Space for Water -Ecoflood -Flood Risk for New Development Framework & Guidance for Assessment & Management -Flood Risk Management Research Consortium -Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research


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