UK industry calls for new approach to flood risk management

Oct. 12, 2009 -- Leading industry bodies involved in the built environment have joined together in a united call for a more joined up approach to tackling urban flood risk in the UK...

Oct. 12, 2009 -- Leading industry bodies involved in the built environment have joined together in a united call for a more joined up approach to tackling urban flood risk in the UK.

In a joint policy statement developed by ICE, CIWEM, RIBA, RICS, RTPI, RUSI and the Landscape Institute the group, which collectively represents over a quarter of a million built environment professionals, says it is no longer feasible to continue trying to defend communities from all flood risk and future strategies will have to be based on building flood resilience into urban design and community support.

The statement stresses that to realise full benefit, resilience measures will need to contribute to creating quality urban environments and to managing the wider aspects of the water cycle.

Chair of the multi-institutional group David Balmforth said: "Flooding is a very real risk in the UK and one that is only going to get worse. If we rely solely on flood defences and ever larger drainage conduits, we will not be able to keep pace with climate change. We need to rethink our approach to urban design and the development of our urban communities. Flood risk management must be at the front of the planning and development process, not at the end."

This means using more resistant materials and methods in construction as well as creating the space in urban areas for flood water to safely pass on the surface during extreme events. Flood risk management should be factored into all new development, both to ensure that new urban areas will be sufficiently resilient and to avoid impacting on existing areas downstream. Difficult decisions over whether new development should take place at all will have to be taken in some areas.

Balmforth continued, "Future urban communities are likely to be quite different from those we see today. Buildings will be laid out differently to be more resilient to flooding, and roads and pathways will double up to act as flood channels during very heavy rain.

"Rivers will no longer be constrained behind ugly walls. We have a real opportunity to create exciting and pleasant urban communities but to do this all the professions will have to work closely together, and Government will have to lead by setting appropriate legislation and regulation in place."

The policy statement has been produced as a guide for the built environment professions as well as government bodies and wider industry.

Download the statement here

The Joint Policy Statement on Managing Urban Flood Risk was developed by:
o Institution of Civil Engineers. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) was founded in 1818 to ensure professionalism in civil engineering. It represents 80,000 qualified and student civil engineers in the UK and across the globe. The ICE has long worked with the government of the day to help it to achieve its objectives, and has worked with industry to ensure that construction and civil engineering remain major contributors to the UK economy and UK exports.

o Chartered Institution of Water. The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world,

o Royal Institute of British Architects. The Royal Institute of British Architects is the UK body for architecture and the architectural profession. The RIBA supports 40,500 members worldwide in the form of training, technical services, publications and events, and sets standards for the education of architects, both in the UK and overseas. It works with government to improve the design quality of public buildings, new homes and new communities. . Media contact

o Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). RICS is the world's leading qualification when it comes to professional standards in land, property and construction. In a world where more and more people, governments, banks and commercial organisations demand greater certainty of professional standards and ethics, attaining RICS status is the recognised mark of property professionalism. RICS is an independent professional body originally established in the UK by Royal Charter. Media contact Stephen Thornton

o Royal Town Planning Institute. The RTPI is the largest professional institute for planners in Europe, with over 22,000 members. As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development. Media please contact Jamie Hodge

o Royal United Services Institute. The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is an independent think tank engaged in cutting edge defence and security research. As inland flooding and coastal flooding are two of the most significant hazards on the UK's National Risk Register, flood risk and resilience is a significant focus of research within the institute's National Security and Resilience Department. . Media contact Daniel Sherman

o Landscape Institute. The Landscape Institute is an educational charity and chartered body responsible for protecting, conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment for the benefit of the public. It champions well-designed and well-managed urban and rural landscape. Media contact


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