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Long term initiatives for flood risk environments

The BRE LifE project, The Long Term Initiatives for Flood Risk Environments project was one of six projects funded by Defra's FCERM Innovation Fund, and part of Defra's Making Space for Water programme (MSW). The Innovation Fund sought to improve future delivery of flood and coastal erosion risk management, by introducing a wider range of stakeholders, and promoting innovative approaches to development delivery that contribute towards holistic and sustainable policy making in the future.

The LifE project has been undertaken to demonstrate ways in which an integrated approach to planning new developments can combine sustainable practices with ecological flood mitigation measures, encouraging responsible new developments.  A set of illustrated generic principles is being developed to demonstrate the integrated planning approach, and which can be adopted for use on other sites. These principles will be presented in a short illustrated ‘LifE guide'.

The Defra funding enabled a multi-disciplinary design team led by BACA architects, (with Fulcrum, LDA, Cyrill Sweetts and Halcrow) to be assembled.  Three sites in the UK were chosen to test and illustrate the development and application of ‘LifE' strategies.  As follows:

Site 1, Upper catchment - The River Wandle at Hackbridge

Site 2, Middle catchment - The River Nene at Peterborough

Site 3, Lower catchment - The River Arun at Littlehampton

LifE Project outputs were

  • To explore what economic and environmental benefits can be achieved from an integrated approach to masterplanning in flood-risk areas
  • To identify a generic set of principles to integrated masterplanning in flood risk areas
  • To demonstrate how the principles could be used to masterplan three sites around the country
  • To create a concise ‘LifE Handbook’.

The purpose of this handbook is to help manage and reduce unacceptable levels of flood risk by raising awareness and aiding delivery of more sustainable development. It is to be used by decision makers, designers and developers before and during the early stages of design.

The LifE Handbooks are available from IHS,

For details of the LifE project contact: Dr Stephen Garvin, garvins@bre.co.uk; 01355 576200