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Smarter flood risk management in England: investing in resilient catchments

Source(s):  Green Alliance

This policy insight warns that England’s current approach to flood risk is contradictory, and skewed towards short-term reactive responses that ignore the central role of land management in building resilience to flooding. Severe flooding has occurred in 13 of the 16 years since 2000, with the worst floods in the north of England in 2015 costing the economy over £5 billion. Spending an ever increasing amount on hard flood defences is unlikely to be a viable long-term strategy, particularly in the face of increasing risks associated with climate change.

The policy brief includes three recommendations that would lead to a greater level of resilience for either the same or lower cost than current approaches. 

  • Use the replacement of the Common Agricultural Policy to reward land management that helps to prevent flooding.
  • Establish a dedicated fund for natural flood management. 
  • Set up regional Catchment Management Boards.

The three measures proposed have the potential to raise standards for agricultural subsidies, moving it from adverse or neutral practices to ones that help prevent flooding, achieve higher environmental benefit from farming, and reduce the escalating cost of flood defences and post-flood repairs through accelerating development of the evidence base and by improving catchment level governance.

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  • Smarter flood risk management in England: investing in resilient catchments
  • Publication date 2016
  • Author(s) Wheeler, Nicola; Francis, Angela; George, Anisha
  • Number of pages 24 p.

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