The research was highly influential because it revealed a series of weaknesses in the governance and policy systems for managing drainage and flood response regionally but also at the national and international scale.
The University of Hull research has significantly impacted governance and inter-agency partnership working, as well as leading to the adoption of a more integrated approach to flood risk management.
The Environment Agency’s Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management
- informed the findings of the House of Commons Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- is cited within the highly influential Pitt Review which has guided and directly informed UK flood policy for the past decade through the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, the Water Act (2014), the Surface Water Management Action Plan (2018), the 25-year Environment Plan (2018) and the development of the Environment Agency’s new Flood and Costal Erosion Risk Management Strategy (2020)
- led to the creation of regional Surface Water Management Plans (SWMPs). Hull was one of five areas to trial SWMPs. The SWMPs mandate planners, investors and developers to incorporate flood risk into their planning.
- guided ~£2.6bn investment in UK flood management funding between 2015 and 2020, significantly improving flood prevention and mitigation measures across the country (~300,000 homes better protected).
- impacted international flood and resilience strategies through the development, and subsequent global deployment of, the City Water Resilience Approach (CWRA). This is part of the Resilient Cities Programme pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, with support from Arup, Resilience Shift, and the OECD, is now the global standard for city-level water resilience.
Our researchers recommended that one lead agency should oversee flood events with multi-agency partnerships working together and collaborating on broader flood governance. This advice was incorporated into the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 which gave the Environment Agency (EA) overall responsibility for all flooding, including surface water flooding. Local authorities now retain responsibility for the control of regional surface water drainage, but do so under the auspices of the EA. This tranche of legislation prepares society for future flood events to a degree that was never required previously.
Our international involvement in the City Water Resilience Approach (CWRA) led to the creation of the local Living with Water Partnership. The partnership includes the University of Hull (Professor Dan Parsons, Director of the Energy and Environment Institute, is a member of the Executive Board), the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Hull City Council and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Our next steps:
Our work continues to directly impact flood resilience in our communities. Our recommendations will lead to improving the local, physical flood resilience infrastructure. This includes creating Aqua Green sites in open public spaces, which retain surplus surface water temporarily during flood events. The use of natural flood management strategies like these are now also firmly embedded in national flood management policy. We also champion cooperation and communication between communities, industry, civic agencies and government in order to build flood resilience.
Coulthard, T. and Frostick L. (2010) The Hull floods of 2007: implications for the governance and management of urban drainage systems, Journal of Flood Risk Management, 3, 223-231
Coulthard, T., Frostick, L., Hardcastle, H., Jones, K., Rogers, D., Scott, M. and Bankoff, G. (2007) The 2007 floods in Hull. Final report by the Independent Review Body, 21 November 2007. Hull City Council, 68pp.
Coulthard, T., Frostick, L., Hardcastle, H., Jones, K., Rogers, D. and Scott, M. (2007) The 2007 floods in Hull. Interim report by the Independent Review Body, 24th August 2007. Hull City Council, 36pp.
Haughton, G., Bankoff, G., and Coulthard, T. (2015). In search of ‘lost’ knowledge and outsourced expertise in flood risk management. Transactions Institute of British Geographers, 40(3), 375-386