Flooding and flood risk management
Urban Flood Management
The effects of climate change will continue to be debated over the coming years as extreme weather events and global warming become more apparent. In recent years the UK has seen an increase in the number of flood events and flood risk warnings in many areas. This is of increasing concern, to home owners, developers and insurers.
Approaches to limiting disruption and damage from flooding have changed significantly in recent years. Worldwide, there has been a significant move from a strategy of flood defence to one of flood risk management. This includes the use of flood defences, where appropriate, but recognises that managed flooding is essential to meet the requirements of a sustainable flood strategy. The success of this approach is dependent on integrating enhanced defences and warning systems with improved understanding of the river systems and better governance, emergency planning and disaster management actions.
Over the years, flooding and flood risk management are becoming increasingly important issues. As the impact of severe events is felt by increasing numbers of the population, the cost from associated damage increases dramatically. The cost of flood cannot only be measured in monetary terms as the human costs are often impossible to calculate. Between 2000 and 2004, floods killed 185 people within the EU and affected half a million.
BRE is currently involved in developing a number of research initiatives to investigate flood preparedness, protection and post-flood repair. This has been initiated through previous research projects and the current involvement in European Cost Action C22 ‘Urban Flood Management'. The main objective of this action is to increase knowledge required for preventing and mitigating potential flood impacts to urban areas by exchanging experiences, developing integrated approaches, and by promoting the use of best practice in urban flood management.
The BRE LifE project The Long Term Initiatives for Flood Risk Environments project is 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 seeks 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 BRE 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 has 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 have been chosen to test and illustrate the development and application of ‘LifE' strategies. The three sites were selected to represent typical UK flood risk locations along different rivers. These are:
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
The BRE are acting as project managers for this research project. The project is due to report in Autumn 2008.
Contact details at BRE for the BRE LifE project: Nicholas Corker (Project Manager) 01923 664000; Stephen Garvin (Quality Assurance) 01355 576200
Contact details at BACAfor the LifE project: Robert Barker (Lead Sub-Contractor) 020 7250 3873