Guardian, the (UK)
With 90% of Hull standing below the high-tide line, its devastating recent floods were a sign of things to come. Can the UK’s 2017 city of culture be retrofitted against disaster – or should its people think about moving on?
“Water comes from all directions in Hull – it makes it uniquely vulnerable to flooding,” says emeritus professor of geography Lynne Frostick, an expert in Britain’s estuaries and adviser to the Environment Agency on flooding. “Hull’s at risk from the North Sea. We’ve got rainfall: Hull is like a basin with the taps on full if it’s raining hard [with] very few overflows. There are risks from ground water flooding in parts of the city. If you asked for planning permission to put Hull where it is now, you’d probably be refused.”
Living With Water, a new partnership between the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and Hull and East Riding councils, is trying to rethink Hull’s approach to “work with water, not against it”, as Frostick says.
One method is “natural flood management”, using green spaces to hold then slowly release water following an extreme event. The council has started creating its own “aqua-greens”, and is planning a new nature reserve, close to the Bransholme estate, to act as a natural sponge.