Developing and implementing flood and coastal resilience indicators
Leading research to determine the most appropriate measures locally and nationally to indicate changes in resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.
In this two-phase project, we initially led the research to develop aspirational indicators to measure changes in resilience to flooding and coastal erosion. The measurements developed by this project will then be operationalised to monitor progress of the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Strategy and ambition.
- Client Environment Agency
- Location England
Implementing indicators to bolster resilience for people and places in the face of climate change
Improving resilience to the increasing risks of flooding and coastal erosion requires a shift in focus from protection and controlling flooding and coastal change to a more resilience-based approach. In doing so, our aim is to work with, and manage the natural flow of water and the changing coastline.
Alongside flood and coastal defences, we need a broader range of actions for achieving climate-resilient places, including the enhanced capacity to plan, respond and recover. Increasingly nature-based solutions, strategic approaches at the catchment scale, community resilience and the multiple benefits that flood and coastal change risk management can bring, are all recognised in national and local strategy and practical initiatives on the ground.
In 2021/22, JBA led research to determine what measurements could be used to indicate changes in resilience to flooding and coastal erosion and the steps that need to be taken to use these measurements, or indicators, to better understand the impact, and demonstrate the progress, of FCERM policy and strategy ambitions.
Implementation of these indicators will enable tracking of a broad range of resilience actions and ultimately aims to build resilience for people and places at a local and national scale in the face of climate change.
“England has a long history of flooding and coastal erosion. Climate change means that these events will increase in frequency and as a result, the way we manage the risks will need to change too”
A co-designed approach to research
Our research included stakeholder workshops and focus groups, case study interviews and an online survey. Indicators co-produced with stakeholders were supplemented with additional indicators from a detailed evidence review of relevant literature. The evidence review also aided the development of a conceptual framework, using the Theory of Change, to allow outputs to be linked with measurable resilience outcomes.
Indicators were refined using an iterative co-design process, resulting in a set of 34 indicators of resilience which were recommended for operationalising. An approach was also developed to bridge the gap between the research and operationalising the indicators.
Exploring the realities and resources needed for operationalisation
Previous research has acknowledged that there are barriers and challenges to implementing these indicators now. The first stage in operationalisation marks an important step forward in developing a resilience baseline. We will need to monitor resilience trends over time, as well as simultaneously test and further refine the indicators, to embrace the broader range of resilience measures.
This part of the project is split into phases and moves from design and delivery of the indicators which are ready to be measured, to development of those indicators which require further shaping and agreement. It will also include development of an evaluation framework that will capture progress and lessons learned.
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