Environment Agency releases data to encourage uptake of natural flood defences

Evidence collected from more than 60 case studies across England has shown the benefits natural flood defences can play in the effort to minimise the devastating effects of flooding.

The Environment Agency (EA) has produced a swathe of data, published in The evidence behind natural flood management. The EA hopes the guide will encourage more local authority engineers to explore natural defence strategies in a bid to see how successful they can be.

One example on the Lancashire coast of Hesketh used a ‘managed realignment’ scheme. It has created more than 300 hectares of saltmarsh which protects 143 residential properties, three commercial buildings and 300 hectares of farm land.

Another study includes a project in Debenham, Suffolk, where modelling has shown that installing a range of natural flood management features along the River Deben could provide more than 30,000 m3 of water storage, thereby reducing annual average damages to properties and farmland by 31%.

John Curtin, executive director of flood and coastal risk management at the Environment Agency, said: “I often think improving flood resilience is like a mosaic, many different pieces need to come together to complete the resilience picture. Natural flood management is an important part of that mosaic when used alongside more traditional engineering. These projects also provide fantastic opportunities for community involvement and leadership.”

In March the government announced a further £15m for natural flood management schemes across England.

Click here to download the Environment Agency's data.

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