Flood and coastal erosion risk management research and development
Flooding is one of the biggest natural hazards affecting the safety and sustainability of communities across Wales.
Evidence suggests that changes in our climate will result in heavier and more regular rainfall, stormier weather events and rising sea levels. These factors are likely to increase the impact and frequency of flooding and we need to be prepared. We need to ensure that our decisions, operations and advice to Government and others are underpinned by sound and quality-assured science and evidence.
Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Research and Development Programme
To help meet our science and evidence needs, we work in collaboration with the Welsh Government, Environment Agency and Defra on the joint Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Research and Development programme. To find more information, visit the programme's website.
The programme, covering England and Wales, aims to serve the needs of all flood and coastal operating authorities by providing key evidence to:
- inform the development of policy and strategy
- understand and assess coastal and flood risks
- manage flood and coastal erosion assets in a sustainable way
- prepare for and manage flood events effectively
Current projects in the programme that support our national flood risk management evidence needs include:
Practical approaches to the transfer or decommissioning of assets – To produce a practical guide for those involved in the transfer or decommissioning of assets.
Coastal monitoring and historical coastal change - This project aims to review and document historical coastal change along England and Wales’s coastline to better inform future coastal management decisions that are based on robust and comprehensive evidence of coastal change.
Benefits in removing redundant reservoirs - This project will review and research the effect of previous discontinuance and adaptation schemes, both in terms of the benefits accrued and the dis-benefits. It’ll provide advice on the process and the considerations to take into account, including environmental and societal factors.
The Natural Flood Management (NFM) manual - Developing a new Natural Flood Management manual, which will provide design and management guidance to help practitioners with natural flood management.
Recently completed projects in the programme that support our national flood risk management evidence needs include:
Flood Hydrology framework - The hydrology roadmap will set out a vision for flood hydrology for the next 25 years. It’ll be accompanied by a delivery plan which details specific actions to be delivered by the flood hydrology community within the first seven years.
The flood hydrology roadmap sets out a vision for flood hydrology in the UK for the next 25 years. It is accompanied by an action plan that details how that vision will be achieved.
The roadmap covers England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 2021 to 2046. It considers all sources of inland flooding, including fluvial, pluvial and sewers, groundwater and reservoirs. It also considers all inland flood hydrology activities in the UK, from operational practice to scientific research.
Working together to adapt to a changing climate - flood and coast – Developing engagement with communities where the long-term future of flood and coastal erosion risk management is uncertain due to the impact of climate change. (linked to the completed Flood and coastal erosion risk management research and development framework: working with communities project)
This research project aimed to explore how authorities can work with communities on future planning and decision-making to help reduce flood and coastal erosion risk in the face of climate change.
This will be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about ways in which authorities, communities and partners can exchange views, build understanding and plan together.
Understanding effective flood and coastal erosion risk governance in England and Wales - This project aims to explore and evaluate flood and coastal erosion risk governance in England and Wales. The project will draw on lessons learnt from considering local and national approaches to Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM).
This research assessed the effectiveness of current flood and coastal risk management (FCERM) governance in England and Wales and whether it is fit for purpose for the future in the face of increasing risks posed by climate change.
The research has also created practical guidance on partnership governance for policy makers and practitioners working within FCERM in England and Wales.
What is coastal squeeze? - This project re-defined what causes ‘coastal squeeze’ and assessed the best way of managing its past and future impacts.
Development of interim national guidance on non-stationary fluvial flood frequency estimation – This project has developed new tools and techniques to help us detect and take account of non-stationarity in flood frequency estimation for flood scheme appraisal.
Other research opportunities
We also work alongside the Welsh Government to seek additional opportunities to meet gaps in knowledge and evidence, for example through research council grants or by working with universities linking research activities with NRW programmes of work.
Recent examples are projects funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC):
A programme of novel environmental science to improve understanding of different Natural Flood Management (NFM) measures for a range of flood risk scenarios. The programme comprises of three different projects, involving cases studies, evidence gathering and modelling. Further information available on the website.