A high level workshop on managing the risks of flooding was hosted by Ricardo Energy & Environment in London earlier this month.
A range of private and public sector organisations attended the event which took place in the consultancy’s office near Marble Arch. The business community was represented by organisations from property, construction, infrastructure, retail, finance and insurance sectors, many of whom had been affected by the recent floods. Representatives from public agencies and local councils also attended the seminar to better understand the available mitigation measures and engage with companies similarly concerned with the threat of flooding.
Expert speakers presenting at the workshop included representatives from the Environment Agency, Waterco, Manchester Metropolitan University and Ricardo Energy & Environment.
Speakers covered a number of important issues. Deputy Director of Investment and Funding at the Environment Agency (EA), Dr Jonathan Day, provided an overview of how the EA and businesses can work together to manage flood risks. Pedr Jones from Waterco talked about the benefits of preparing Flood Risk Assessments and the use of hydraulic modelling for planning while Dr Paul O’Hare, Lecturer in Geography and Development at Manchester Metropolitan University, presented on property level resilience measures.
The subject of water-sensitive urban design, including practical measures such as green roofs and drainage systems, was covered by Aaron Burton and Matthew Hardwick from Ricardo Energy & Environment, with the consultancy’s Nicole Shamier providing the business case for action, an explanation of the economics of flood risk management and information on funding.
“The recent devastating floods in the UK caused at least £1.2 billion worth of damage and had a significant effect on the trading performance of many businesses,” said workshop chairman, Ricardo Energy & Environment’s Neil Walmsley. “With current projections indicating that extreme flooding is going to become more frequent and potentially more severe over the coming years, with the subsequent risk to business continuity, there was significant interest in the topic from delegates attending our workshop last month.
“Companies are now much more aware of the costs flooding can cause their operations and are keen to find ways of avoiding these expenses in the future. In particular, attendees were keen to know more about the business case and economics of flood management. The challenge of how to manage flood risk over multiple boundaries, such as between towns and counties, and how organisations could access finance also stimulated constructive discussion.”
“It is clear that while this is an extremely complex issue, there are affordable and practical solutions available to organisations concerned by the threat of flooding. Greater sharing of knowledge between government and business as well as greater collaboration between businesses and local councils can help to overcome potential barriers to action and unlock funding for flood management projects and measures.”