Environment Agency launches Working with Natural Processes Evidence Directory

The Environment Agency’s ‘Working with Natural Processes (WWNP) Evidence Directory’ was launched on Tuesday at the CIWEM Conference in London. The evidence directory has been developed to help flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) authorities understand, justify, develop and implement FCERM schemes with WWNP to reduce flood risk.

We have been heavily involved in the research and build development of this evidence directory. Our software team have worked on the ‘Mapping the Potential for Working with Natural Processes’ PDF site, which we are hosting. The JBA Trust have also included information about the 65 new case studies in their online catalogue.

Mapping the Potential for Working with Natural Processes

These new strategic maps help identify potential areas for a range of WWNP measures across England. These measures include floodplain reconnection, runoff attenuation features, gully blocking, and woodland planting. They are entirely based on Open Data, and have been published online as a suite of nested interactive PDFs for widespread accessibility. Differing formats will be published online in the near future. They are published with a user-guide and technical report, and form part of the wider WWNP Evidence Directory which also covers aspects of modelling, monitoring and assessing multiple benefits of a wide range of measures.

The maps examine measures for managing flood risk by protecting, restoring and emulating the natural regulating function of catchments and rivers, also known as natural flood management. They include measures to reduce flood risk by storing water, slowing water, increasing flow connectivity between rivers and floodplains and increasing soil infiltration and storage.

Online catalogue of WWNP Projects

Since 2015, the JBA Trust have been collecting information about projects where people have been working with natural processes with the aim of reducing flood risk, among other environmental or land management benefits. They have been mapping those projects and created an online catalogue in an attempt to build up a picture of what is being done across Britain.

Now they have added new data to the maps from the 65 case studies described in the Evidence Directory where different types of potential river, catchment, coastal and estuarine management approaches could help to reduce flood risk by working with nature.

CIWEM launch event in London

Steve Rose, Technical Director, and Barry Hankin, Head of Environmental Modelling, presented at the launch of the WWNP Evidence Directory. Steve on ‘Introducing the Evidence Directory’ and Barry on the ‘Mapping Areas of Potential for Working with Natural Processes.’

John Curtin, Environment Agency Executive Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management, commented “Our approaches and thinking on flooding need to move quicker than the climate.”

Professor Alastair Driver, from Rewilding Britain, was also at the event and commented, “This is a milestone day for catchment management not just for flood management.”

Tom Nisbet, from Forest Research, supported our work throughout the development of the Evidence Directory and spoke at the launch about research gaps and the monitoring plans.

Lydia Burgess-Gamble, Environment Agency project manager for the Evidence Directory, had four key messages about WWNP:

  1. It’s not new
  2. It works for smaller floods in small to medium catchments
  3. It’s complementary to hard engineering schemes
  4. It almost always achieves multiple benefits for the environment and people

Want to know more?

Contact Barry Hankin or Steve Rose for more information on the maps and the evidence directory. You can visit the Environmental Services web pages of our website for more information of our work in this area too.

The Environment Agency’s presentation explains the Evidence Directory further.

The second CIWEM Conference to launch the Evidence Directory is taking place in Leeds on the 6 December. We will have an exhibition stand to promote our involvement with the evidence directory and will be demonstrating our augmented reality models to illustrate a WWNP approach.



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