JBA appointed to measure changes in flooding and coastal change resilience

Enhancing flood and coastal change resilience is introducing radical improvements to the accepted approach to flood and coastal risk management and will help improve our adaptation to climate change.

Defra’s Policy Statement on Flooding and Coastal Erosion and the Environment Agency’s National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, both published last year, firmly promote the concept of resilience and expect this to be taken forward in local strategies, plans and interventions.

Flood and coastal change resilience involves a more strategic and holistic approach to managing the impacts of flooding for places and communities through a range of actions including catchment and shoreline management, nature based solutions, community awareness and planning, and property flood resilience. It’s not a departure from accepted practices for flood and coastal defences as these continue to be an important part of the mix, but resilience requires consideration of a wider range of potential interventions including those that achieve wider benefits for biodiversity, community cohesion and sustainable economic growth.

As flood and coastal resilience gains traction in policy and practice, Defra and the Environment Agency are keen to understand how we can measure progress in enhancing resilience.

How are we doing this?

Towards this end, JBA, together with Steven Trewhella, Rivelin Bridge and Professor Robert Nicholls, UEA/Tyndall Centre were commissioned by the Environment Agency earlier this year to conduct research to define measurements for understanding changes in resilience to flooding and coastal change. The research, which will be completed by the end of the 2021/22 financial year, is overseen by a Project Board comprised of representatives from Defra and the Environment Agency, and a Project Advisory Group which also includes representation from Lead Local Flood Authorities, and national agencies such as Flood Re and the National Infrastructure Commission. In addition to conducting a detailed evidence review, the research is being informed by extensive stakeholder engagement including four focus groups in July, a further four planned in September, a national workshop in November and wider dissemination in early 2022.

The research will fulfil commitments in Defra’s Policy Statement and the Environment Agency’s national strategy to identify an approach to measuring changes in resilience and ultimately will inform requirements placed on Risk Management Authorities (lead local flood authorities, Environment Agency, water companies and others) to report on local resilience.

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