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On-going projects

Mapping flood recovery gaps

A research partnership for delivering effective post-flood support

The
Challenge

According to global records covering the last 20 years, flooding is the most common natural hazard, accounting for 43% of all recorded events.

The UK has experienced unprecedented flooding in recent years. Despite ongoing investment in flood mitigation, the economic costs of dealing with floods can run into the billions: the Environment Agency estimates that the devastating floods of summer 2007 cost a total of £3.2bn, including more than £2bn in costs to homeowners and businesses. This is in addition to the physical and mental health impacts, disruption to routines and supply chains, and an estimated 400,000 of lost school days due to the 2007 floods alone. Severe flooding events are expected to become more common in future.

Hull Flood 2007
Building a practical framework for building back better after flooding

Currently, post-flood support is fragmented. The insurance industry wants to do more to support their customers to build back better by linking up customers, funding, underwriting and flood protection installers. This presents challenges: synchronising the pay-out timescale from insurers and councils so that flood victims can build back better, understanding the impact of different resilience measures on flood recovery costs, and navigating the UK’s complex landscape of flood management and recovery agencies. This project aims to deliver answers to these questions surrounding the best way to 'build back better' and how authorities and insurers can work with citizens to deliver effective post-flood support.

The
Approach

Lead researchers

Pip Betts giles-davidson-eei Steven-Forrest Kate Smith cecilia-de-Ita-eei

Project funded by

fic-erdf-funders-lock-up aviva-foundation-logo

A research partnership has been established, led by the Energy & Environment Institute (EEI) and Flood Innovation Centre to address these problems. The partnership focuses on the immediate aftermath of flood events in the Humber which, outside London, is the UK region most vulnerable to flooding. The partnership will map knowledge and communication gaps to develop a practical framework enabling resources for building back better to be applied effectively after major flood events.

By mapping the gaps in the provision of post-flood support we can establish a basis for insurers to understand which flood resiliency measures are most effective. This also gives us a way to communicate with other agencies, for example local councils, about ways the maximise the effectiveness of post-flood support schemes. Working with partners at Aviva, our research will identify strategies to achieve more sustainable post-flood recovery in flood risk areas. For example, for customers with homes which are more resilient and recoverable, insurers could offer more competitive and tailored flood insurance.

The final output of the project will be a place-based toolkit, developed with national and regional stakeholders. This will outline steps for overcoming the more persistent obstacles to effective post-flood recovery. Our plans include assessment of the social value of using this toolkit, continuing the innovative approach of the EEI’s researchers to make their research truly impactful.

 

Humber-Bridge-from-South-Bank-Blue-Sky-Landscape-MSP_6550-copy

 

Establishing the partnership in the Humber allows us to draw on the expertise within the EEI and the Flood Innovation Centre’s existing local partnerships. With a track record of bringing diverse stakeholders together, the Flood Innovation Centre and EEI are ideal hosts for this partnership. The project team will work closely with key regional stakeholders, as well as insurance industry representatives and third sector actors.

The Impact

Initially, this project will be developed as pilot within the Humber region. Based on historical flood events in the region, which in 2007 impacted 8,600 households, 1,300 businesses and over 90% of Hull’s schools, improving local connectedness of flood-recovery and resiliency resources would deliver significant social value as well to reducing future economic and financial costs of flooding.

This research partnership will engage a wide range of national bodies to amplify its impact. The purpose of developing a protocol from this partnership is to ensure the project is scalable and transferable across different regions. The intention is to develop and test this protocol across a smaller area (the Humber) so that it can then be rolled out and implemented in other areas. Initial estimates project a positive social value return; these benefits would increase proportionately as the pilot was scaled out to other flood-vulnerable areas.

Next steps

The immediate impact of the project on improved wellbeing of flood-vulnerable communities will be captured and measured through the outreach work undertaken as part of this project. By raising awareness through the project, households at risk of flooding will better understand the choices and options available. Our findings will apply in the Humber initially and more widely as the improvement framework is adopted across other localities.

Other on-going research projects