As parts of the UK suffer further flooding with more heavy rain forecast, three research projects funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) could radically change the way we prepare for and respond to floods, mitigating future risks. EPSRC will invest around £4 million into funding the projects.
Researchers at Newcastle University will lead a team to look at the most critical flood scenarios caused by sequences or clusters of extreme weather events striking vulnerable systems of flood defences, urban areas, communities and businesses. They will assess the risk of situations where a second flood may strike before coastal or river defences have been reinstated after damage, or householders and small businesses are in a vulnerable condition recovering from the first flood.
By examining such events and identifying the worst case scenarios, the researchers hope their findings will lead to enhanced flood resilience and better allocation of resources for protection and recovery. Ultimately the processes developed could be used worldwide.
Another project led by the University of Nottingham will put people, local authorities and businesses at the centre of their research using two-way communication to co-produce new strategies for managing flood risk. The goal is to manage urban flooding sustainably while enhancing urban life by adopting new technologies. Green urban spaces will be developed through new build, retrofit and urban renewal. This could lead to major transformations in the way cities are planned, developed and managed.
And a Durham University-led research team will develop cutting-edge computer modelling to look at how emergency planners, the emergency services, local authorities, businesses and other key players interact in the aftermath of a flood. The research will lead to the creation of the first unified framework which integrates and evaluates organisations' changed behaviours in the face of flood events and how these impact on business continuity management and future preparedness. The findings will go towards better planning and response in the future as well as mitigating economic losses.
EPSRC Press Office on 01793 444404 or email@example.com
Notes to editors:
The National Security Review highlighed natural environmental hazards, in particular flooding, as one of the key risks facing the UK, with at least 6 million properties at risk.
Thirteen people died in the devastating floods of 2007, around 7,000 were rescued by the emergency services and 55,000 properties were flooded. The floods cost a total of £3.2 billion according to the Environment Agency, including more than £2 billion in costs to homeowners and businesses and 400,000 of lost school days. In that same year there were 200 major floods globally, affecting 180 million people.
The Living with Environmental Change programme (LWEC), a cross-government funding partnership for Environmental Change research has recently developed a research strategy for Flooding and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM). The report is available on the LWEC website www.lwec.org.uk
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. www.epsrc.ac.uk
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