Squaring the circle between housing demand and flood risk

Having spent a significant number of hours at the MShed last week with the TUFLOW conference, I am back again to listen to the Danish - British Dialog on Housing Challenge and Housing Opportunity. In the past two years Edenvale Young has been involved with many projects associated with the provision of housing. Our role has mainly been through the development of Flood Risk Assessments during planning.

Edenvale Young tends to get involved with project which have complex flood risk issues where our skills in hydrology and hydraulic modelling are essential. Technical competence is vital but communication of complex flood risk issues is the key to the success of a planning application. Many of our projects are difficult, challenging and frequently contentious.

Flooding in Ruthin

So what have we done:-

  • Challenged the Environment Agency's flood risk mapping on the Colne in West Yorkshire and at village locations in South Oxfordshire, to identify developable land adjacent to river corridors which is sustainable.
  • Prepared Sustainable Drainage Schemes within the context of the design of the public realm at places such as the Cotswold Eco-tourism Water Parks.
  • Worked with Local Authorities to investigate how improvements can be made to the urban realm to improve flood resilience and mitigate flood risk to developments sites in Cambridge, Cardiff, Bristol and Port Talbot

In all of these circumstances our role has been to investigate, explain and communicate issues associated with flood risk to planners, developers and communities using hydraulic modelling as the vehicle. The UK is in desperate need of new housing and marginal sites adjacent to flood plains will be brought forward more frequently and decisions will be more complicated. Explaining these complex issues to stakeholders will be an increasingly important skill. So make sure your people skills are up to speed.