Flood and Drought Management Tools

Is Britain Prepared for Floods?: Enhancing Flood Resilience through Innovation, Technology and Collaboration

Central London | Thursday 8th February 2018

Present estimates state that annual flood damages for the whole of the UK are £1.1 billion, with around 5.4 million properties in England at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea, surface water or all three. In 2017 costal areas across the UK have been hit by severe winds and heavy rain, causing power cuts and damage to properties. In North Yorkshire flash flooding has caused road closures and trains have been cancelled. Whole communities across the UK have been left isolated, without power, with severe disruptions or damage to local transport infrastructure.

Funding for flood defences is a source of continuous political debate and controversy, particularly with reference to whether the government is providing enough funding to at risk regions. Under the coalition government spending on flood defence did increase overall, despite initial claims it would decrease. Whilst revenue funding is allocated for a one-year period only, the 2015 Government has protected maintenance funding in real terms at the 2015/16 level (£171 million). It has also allocated funding up until 2020, totalling about £1 billion. Alongside this, the future capital investment is contingent on £600 million partnership funding contributions and in 2016 the Government confirmed it had raised £270 million of this target.

However, funding is not the only variant conducive to sustainable or effective floor resilience. Last year the Government launched its ‘National Flood Resilience Review’, outlining its strategy to enhance flood defences. Among other recommendations outlined in the review, it outlined the need for increased collaboration between various stakeholders and investment in innovation and technology to enhance flood resilience. Currently, householders can access innovative ways to defend against flooding through the Government’s Repair and Renew Grant. UK SMEs are also providing the opportunity for householders to purchase door guards, flood resilient cavity wall insulation, mobile barriers, further empowering householders. In addition, technology can help improve warning systems, increase awareness of flood maps. Similarly, enhancing collaboration can encourage sign-up to flood warnings, and support the establishment of community flood groups. – Consider making this work slightly better as a narrative, as opposed to a disconnected list of points about flood resilience. 

This crucial symposium will address the debate surrounding the UK's flood resilience strategy. It will provide policy makers, local flood authorities, environmental agencies, government departments, local authorities and businesses, the opportunity to resolve the challenges around enhancing innovation and increasing collaboration to maximise the efficacy of flood defences.  

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