Helping to shape the future of flood and coastal risk management

Head of Resilience and Water Management, Peter May, describes how we are supporting the £150 million Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme (FCRIP) and helping shape the future of flood risk management.

Resilience in the face of climate change will drive much of the work we do in the coming years and this is something which has been further highlighted by the recent publication of a report by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which states that 600,000 UK  properties face future flooding without action. Our ambition is to lead the way in providing innovative, integrated water management and sustainable solutions, to address the climate challenges we face, through close collaboration across our disciplines.

The creation of climate resilient places is central to the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Strategy. Its vision is for “a nation ready for, and resilient to, flooding and coastal change – today, tomorrow and to the year 2100”. To support this vision, the Defra funded £150 million Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme (FCRIP) is supporting 25 local authority-led projects across England to develop, test and implement innovative flood risk solutions. FCRIP is a six-year programme that is designed to inform and develop a new national flood risk management policy. Closing in 2027, this six-year programme will innovate using collaboration and culture change to work in a different way. FCRIP aims to work harder by working smarter, and its legacy and influence will continue many years after 2027.

But what about the word resilience? It is rapidly becoming an overused and catchall term but what does it actually mean? At JBA we’ve developed a framework that describes what resilience means to us, and how we support our client’s pursuit for resilience to climate change.

Click here to watch a short animation that illustrates our climate resilience framework and the four elements that underpin our projects and support our clients.

We are currently providing support to twelve FCRIP projects. Here is a brief overview of each of these projects.

  • Buckinghamshire Council: Project Groundwater, Are You Flood Resilient? – A partnership programme that improves understanding, raises awareness and increases resilience to groundwater flooding across Buckinghamshire.
  • Central Bedfordshire Council: ResilienTogether – Managing flood risk using information technology to integrate a network of smart controls to monitor, control and report on catchment responses to rainfall, to manage flood frequency and impact, water and environmental quality, community resilience and wider engagement.
  • City of York Council: York and North Yorkshire catchment flood management – A catchment-scale, long-term view of the role that natural flood management (NFM) can play in flood resilience. Innovative modelling will improve the understanding of the potential benefits of land management changes and natural flood management measures.
  • Cumbria County Council: Cumbria innovative Flood Resilience (CiFR) – Investigating flood resilience within rural communities. Developing new ways to support and protect four diverse landscapes across Cumbria that are ineligible for funding for traditional flood defences despite having suffered intense flooding over the past two decades.
  • Devon County Council: Devon Resilience Innovation Programme (DRIP) – Working with communities in rural, steep, rapidly-responding catchments to empower local communities through engagement and co-creation of resilience actions. Piloting flood resilience measures using a catchment-based approach with a range of nature-based solutions, alongside Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures in community infrastructure.
  • East Sussex County Council: Blue Heart – Putting communities at the heart of resilience decisions and using dynamic flood risk management that is proactive and not reactive. Through the installation of smart technology, the project will build a smart, integrated water management system for the communities of Eastbourne and Southern Wealdon.
  • Gateshead Council: Northumbria groundwater flooding; mapping, mitigation and action – real-time monitoring for flood risk resilience in the area of the former coalfields. The project will produce a network of groundwater and mine water monitoring stations recording water levels in real-time for long term, short term and resilience flood risk planning covering the area of the former Northumberland and Durham coalfields. It will provide verified evidence for local planning authority, sewerage and lead local flood authority strategic flood risk planning policies.
  • Rochdale Borough Council: Roch Valley neighbourhood flood and climate resilience programme – Delivering holistic neighbourhood-scale climate resilience for communities, with flood risk management at its heart. The project will produce neighbourhood flood and climate resilience plans for two key neighbourhoods in Rochdale Borough – Littleborough and Wardleworth. Working with local communities and businesses the project will demonstrate, test and pilot approaches to increase flood resilience in terms of people, place, housing stock, environmental infrastructure and the local economy.
  • Staffordshire County Council: Flood Aware, Informed Resilience (FAIR) – communities and organisations working innovatively together to improve flood resilience. Through effective community engagement, and enabling partnerships between communities and Risk Management Authorities, the project will embrace empowering communities with the skills, knowledge and resources to actively participate in risk management and resilience activities, alongside other partner agencies.
  • Stockton-on-Tess Borough Council: Tees Tidelands – Banking biodiversity credits to fund habitat creation and local flood resilience. The project challenges the traditional funding mechanisms and how we use and manage our low-lying agricultural land. It will provide a circular funding mechanism that delivers improved flood resilience and habitat, in a way that also provides future income for reinvestment in further flood resilience and habitat creation projects.
  • Suffolk County Council: Reclaim the Rain – holistic, partnership approach to water management to promote productive use of surface water runoff, to reduce flood risk and support local water resource needs, increasing resilience to flood and drought risk in small rural communities. Beneficial water reuse by agriculture, industry and residents will increase resilience to climate change and benefit the environment. Aiming to develop a network of real-time smart controls to monitor, control and report on catchment responses to rainfall to manage flood frequency and impact, water and environmental quality, community resilience and wider engagement.
  • West Northamptonshire Council: RAIN – Resilience and Innovation Northants – Creating resilient communities in West Northamptonshire. The project will work at catchment, community and property levels to equip communities with the tools they need to be resilient to extreme weather. Rain means different things to different people. Some see growth, and some see an inconvenience, but for people who have been flooded, it means cost, loss, heartbreak, utter despair and anxiety. The project aims to change these feelings, build confidence, reduce fear, empower and show those who are at risk or have experienced flooding that it is possible to be resilient, be prepared and recover.

Our ambition in supporting these FCRIP projects – and indeed in all our projects supporting our clients’ pursuit of climate resilience – is to encourage adaptation and promote a more effective response to the growing climate risks we face.

Improved community awareness, planning and preparation can help mitigate impacts and accelerate recovery. And future plans that build back smarter will achieve the transformation needed to adapt to our changing climate.

Want to know more?

For more information about our FCRIP works and Local Flood Risk Management Services, please contact Peter May, Head of Resilience and Water Management.

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