- 20th September 2019
- Posted by: Sophie Smith
- Category: Blog
The Flood Expo returned to the NEC in Birmingham last week for another successful conference. Its aim was to help flood professionals and property owners discover the latest innovative products, services and strategies that transform the way flooding is predicted, prevented, and managed.
Holly Cavill, Thomasin Sayers and Peter May all attended over the course of the two-day conference. Below is a round-up of their thoughts of the event.
On Day 1, Holly Cavill, the South West Property Flood Resilience (PFR) hub coordinator, from our Exeter Office attended.
Alastair Moseley, Honorary Vice President of CIWEM, followed up on his talk the previous year providing an update on the development of the new Code of Practice for PFR. The document is going to be launched in Autumn 2019 and is likely to become an invaluable resource for installers, insurance companies and millions of property owners alike throughout the UK.
David Nash, from the Zurich Foundation, spoke about work completed as part of the Zurich’s Flood Resilience Alliance. The alliance is building a system-based methodology, is helping communities globally to develop in a climate-smart and risk-informed way, and is showing how we can measure resilience as a result.
Hannah Baker and Paul Robertson, from Communities Prepared, introduced the Communities Prepared programme, outlining how the scheme has already been used to support communities living at flood risk to help improve their resilience. This case study-based talk gave an overview of the work that has already been done as part of the scheme, working with local partners and providing training and support for local flood groups. Paul Robertson also spoke about his experience as the founder and Senior Coordinator of his local multi-role Community Emergency Volunteer group.
Harriet Broughton of FloodRe talked about the FloodRe Quinquennial Review which was published in July 2019 and is the recommended package of proposed changes to the Scheme. FloodRe is a joint Government and insurance industry initiative aiming to make the flood cover part of household insurance policies more affordable. The proposed changes aim to make the scheme more efficient, more responsive and more flexible.
On Day 2, Thomasin Sayers from our Skipton office attended. The keynote speakers who stood out were Livia Hollins from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Tim Beech from Thames Water.
Livia Hollins spoke about the threat of increased flood risk globally, what action the UN is taking on flooding, and how it’s necessary that we adapt alongside this risk rather than to believe we can prevent it. Countries such as Japan and the Netherlands are already taking this proactive approach to managing flood risk. Livia also supports the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Tim Beech spoke about the partnership funding contributions as we go into AMP7. Thames Water recognises that they need to take a partnership approach in relation to flood risk and have ringfenced funding to contribute towards local authority projects and schemes and other stakeholders. They have also launched a programme for managing surface water on a property level, where Thames Water customers are given the option to install a planter free of charge to collect roof water, with those in areas at risk of flooding the primary customers for this initiative.
Defra Property Flood Resilience Roundtable
Peter May, Associate Director, also attended for part of the second day as he was attending a meeting of the Defra PFR Roundtable at the NEC Expo venue during the morning. Peter is a member of the cross-industry Roundtable with specific input to three of the six Task Groups, focusing on the draft Code of Practice, Communications and Behaviour Change and Data and Evidence working with FloodRe.
Following an update from Task Group leads on progress and forward look (including an update on the draft PFR Code of Practice) the main focus of the meeting were presentations from the three successful PFR Pathfinder leads. Defra announced £2.9m additional funding for these two-year projects to boost research into, and take-up of, property level measures which can better protect homes and businesses from flooding.
Property Flood Resilience Pathfinder projects
The successful PFR Pathfinder projects are the Ox-Cam Arc, Yorkshire and the South West.
The Oxford-Cambridge Pathfinder, led by Northamptonshire County Council, will be centred on the delivery of one million high-quality homes across a wide area, including neighbouring counties, by 2050. Ten communities will be identified to engage with the project, ensuring resources to promote and install property flood resilience are prioritised in the areas most vulnerable to the impacts of flooding.
The Yorkshire Future Flood Resilience Pathfinder project, delivered by the City of York Council, will work with communities, planning and construction professionals, the construction industry and the insurance sector. This initiative will encourage greater uptake of property flood resilience measures across the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee area. It will establish a community hub and learning lab, working with existing projects and initiatives in the area, and provide staff to deliver a large-scale training programme.
The South West Partnership project, led by Cornwall County Council, will focus on local innovation to enhance the future take-up of property flood resilience measures. As well as establishing a demonstration hub and web portal it will seek to simplify and streamline processes, increasing the flood resilience of communities across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Our extensive involvement in the PFR field has led to requests for substantial JBA support for both the Cornwall Pathfinder and elements of the Yorkshire Pathfinder. The projects will be delivered with support from the Environment Agency and representatives of the insurance and construction industries. Projects will be monitored to highlight successes and identify lessons that can be used to foster greater use of property flood resilience measures elsewhere across the country.
In summary, the Flood Expo was a good opportunity to explore the trends of flood risk management nationally and to provide a networking platform to share ideas, experiences and best practice. With strong resilience and innovation themes, it was interesting to see how the sector is developing and how we at JBA can continue to influence developments in flood risk management both locally and nationally.