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On-going projects

Mapping flood recovery gaps

A research partnership for delivering effective post-flood support

Calling University of Hull colleagues!

We're holding a practical workshop on 1 March where we'll be using our Flood Recovery Game to explore flood response and recovery. Join us to find out more about flooding, as well as the practical use of serious games in stakeholder engagement and research.

Book now!

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

giles-davidson-eei eei-Ejuma-Amen-Thompson Steven-Forrest Kate Smith cecilia-de-Ita-eei

Project funded by

aviva-foundation-logo

To address these problems, a research partnership has been established between the University of Hull and Aviva, led by the Energy & Environment Institute (EEI). 

The partnership focuses on the immediate aftermath of flood events, mapping knowledge and communication gaps to develop a practical framework and resources to help communities build back better after major flood events.

Establishing the partnership in the Humber allows us to draw on the expertise within the EEI’s existing local partnerships, benefiting from the EEI’s track record of bringing diverse stakeholders together. The project team has worked closely with key regional stakeholders, as well as insurance industry representatives and third sector actors.

 

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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 to maximise the effectiveness of post-flood support schemes. Working with partners at Aviva, our research has identified 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 Impact

In Phase 1 of the project, the team worked with national and regional stakeholders to create a place-based toolkit comprising:

 

  1. A review of academic and policy reports to identify known gaps in post-flood response
  2. Detailed insights about flood recovery gaps from experts and stakeholders through a series of one-to-one interviews
  3. Structured, facilitated workshop sessions featuring a bespoke serious game, “The Flood Recovery Game”. The game encourages stakeholders to collaborate in identifying flood recovery gaps and seek solutions together, fostering common purpose.
  4. A report synthesising outcomes and findings

 

Using these tools, the project identified and mapped gaps in communication and co-ordination, procedural standardisation, provision and availability of funding and other resources and information sharing.

Our evidence shows that the current patchwork of local, regional and national agencies and government departments involved in responding to flood incidents can lead to fragmented and inconsistent post-flood interventions. As a result, flood-impacted householders and businesses can struggle to access timely, affordable, and effective resiliency-focused recovery.

The work also included an assessment of the social value of using this toolkit, continuing the innovative approach of the EEI’s researchers to make their research truly impactful.

Next steps

Download the report.

We have received positive feedback to workshops using the Flood Recovery Game and there is evidence of wider interest. At present, the toolkit requires significant input from EEI experts to organise and facilitate workshops, process findings and generate outcomes. This limits the scope and reach of deployment. Thanks to additional funding from the Aviva Foundation the team is now engaged in further work to boost the impact and enable wider benefit. We are gathering information about the scale and nature of demand, identifying any changes needed to facilitate wider deployment as a ‘workshop-in-a-box’, understanding how further research opportunities can be realised and developing a sustainable deployment plan for communities, businesses and citizens to benefit throughout the UK and beyond.

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