The Environment Agency’s Working with Natural Processes (WWNP) Evidence Directory

Challenge

Interest in WWNP, also known as Natural Flood Management (NFM), has grown dramatically in recent years following a spate of significant flooding events and the need to look for a wider set of flood risk management solutions. We were selected by the Environment Agency to lead a national project to bring together the evidence on the effectiveness of WWNP and also to produce maps of the country identifying where NFM might be applicable within catchments.

Solution

We worked with the Environment Agency to develop the recently published WWNP Evidence Directory which will help with flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM). The Directory consists of:

  • Evidence – what we know and don’t know about the effectiveness of 14 NFM measures in catchment and coastal areas, together with the benefits they can bring to people and the environment. The Evidence Directory represents a synthesis of the outcomes from a comprehensive literature review on each of the NFM measures, as well as identifying and describing key knowledge gaps. It also features 65 detailed case studies, which are being hosted online by the JBA Trust, from across the country including a number of NFM projects that JBA have worked on over the last 5-10 years.
  • Interactive Maps– these identify different types of NFM measures that may work in a catchment and where you can potentially locate them.  These maps represent a valuable resource to assist in stakeholder engagement activities where partnerships want to explore a catchment based NFM initiative.

Benefit

The Evidence Directory will help authorities understand, justify, develop and implement future FCERM schemes that incorporate WWNP to help reduce flood risk to vulnerable communities. Four key messages were identified from the work:

  1. Working with natural processes is not a new concept
  2. It works for smaller more frequent floods in small to medium catchments
  3. WWNP can complement hard engineering schemes and make them more resilient to projected climate change effects
  4. It almost always achieves multiple benefits for the environment and people

Want to know more?

For more information on this project contact Steve Maslen, Steve Rose or Barry Hankin. You can also find out more on our Natural Flood Management webpage.

We’re also exhibiting at the CIWEM Conference, the second event where the Evidence Directory is being launched, on 6 December. Join us on our exhibition stand in Leeds where you can play with the JBA Trust’s Augmented Reality sandbox to see NFM measures in practice.



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