Using natural processes can help us make flood risk management more sustainable and cost-effective than hard, engineered defences. They can also bring added benefits to wildlife as well as help to regenerate rural and urban spaces.
Latest evidence on working with natural processes
The events of the summer of 2007 demonstrated the major impacts floods can have. Whilst more traditional approaches to managing floods such as building defences will continue to be vital for protecting people and property, the floods also reminded us of the importance of understanding how we can use the environment more effectively to manage the flood risks we face.
This partnership report brings together the latest scientific, environmental and engineering knowledge in response to the Pitt Review and its recommendation 27. It describes clearly what greater working with natural processes means for managing the risks of flooding from rivers and the sea. It should underpin future plans for flood and coastal risk management as well as help partners work together to protect the public and property from floods effectively. At the same time it should do more for the environment.
Good practice guide on working with natural processes
This guide shows how flood and coastal erosion risk management can work more with natural processes. It describes a broad range of techniques for working with natural processes in all areas of a catchment - upland, lowland, urban, rural, and coastal. Case studies illustrate where these techniques have already been used, such as:
- using land to temporarily store flood water away from high risk areas;
- reconnecting rivers to their floodplains;
- lengthening watercourses to a more natural alignment;
- restoring degraded peat bogs;
- blocking artificial drainage channels;
- reforesting floodplains;
- green roofs;
- permeable paving;
- surface water attenuation ponds.
The guidance will help project managers and others when selecting options and designing schemes to decide which of the techniques will best enable them to deliver greater working with natural processes. It supplements our project appraisal guidance.