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Crowdsourcing the fight against flooding

In its wide-ranging general election manifesto, Infrastructure for everyone, the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) is arguing for the development of an app, which merges crowd-sourced information with data from official sources such as the Met Office and Environment Agency, to create a real time picture of flooding and allow everyone to contribute to the fight against floods. 

Commenting on the proposal, which would sit alongside additional investment in physical flood defences across the country, ACE chief executive Hannah Vickers said: “The impact of the recent floods in South Yorkshire, the Midlands, and Lincolnshire was even worse because of a lack of reliable information in a rapidly shifting situation. This severely hampered rescue, relief and clean-up efforts.

“With climate change increasing the likelihood of major floods in the UK, it makes perfect sense to invest in the next generation of virtual flood defences. Using technology to merge data from official sources with crowd-sourced information, it would create a real time picture of what’s happening – allowing for home owners to prepare for, and rescuers to plan routes through, rising waters.

“Over time, we would build up an evidence base which could help predict potential flooding on a street-by-street basis. In the same way that Waze helps drivers avoid congestion through crowd-sourced information, this app would ensure we could with rising waters. This is a modern and cost-effective response to an issue which won’t be going away any time soon.”

Elsewhere in its manifesto, ACE calls for a range of policies to support infrastructure investment which they argue is the foundation of economic growth, most notably for the government to commit to 2% of infrastructure funding, for gaps in housing and energy generation to be tackled as a matter of priority.

ACE is also calling for continued commitment to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, investment in a national electric vehicle charging network and a commitment to prioritise denser housing developments on brownfield sites and developments which enhance local communities through placemaking principles. 

Vickers continued: “I’m delighted to see infrastructure rightly at the forefront of the political debate. Issues such as housing, transport and utilities are key to delivering both a better society and economic growth and with the right political will, our practical, pragmatic and achievable policies are ready to go.”

Click here to download ACE's manifesto, Infrastructure for everyone.