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Flood and Coast conference 2019 reflections

26th June 2019

John Dudley, Associate Flood Risk Consultant, reflects on the success of the Flood and Coast conference, a three-day event that advances the debate about flood and coastal erosion risk, resilience and response.

Entering its fourth year, the Flood and Coast Conference held at the Telford International Centre was well attended and included workshops, presentations, debate and panel sessions. The event brings together specialists that deliver technology and solutions to control the increasing risk of flood, and rising sea levels around our coasts, to spread best practice, discuss new ways of working and to deliver excellence in Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management.

I was excited to be joined by a host of other speakers on the topic “Protecting 300,000 new homes – lessons learned”. The session covered the overarching topic of lessons learned and was aimed at capturing some of the great examples and innovations we have seen in working towards the government’s target of better protecting 300,000 homes from flooding. I presented on “taking the catchment-wide” modelling approach to understand and manage flood risk - what have we learnt using a case study from Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme (FRMS). The Kendal FRMS will deliver an improved standard of protection to over 1,400 residential and 1,100 non-residential properties.

I was joined by fellow specialists who shared their experiences on projects that provided solutions in protecting homes. Emily Hutchinson, Cambridgeshire County Council, talked about the lead local flood authority’s perspective on protecting houses and showed how flood modelling has been used to understand risk. Ted Thomas, from the Environment Agency, discussed the importance of integrated catchment modelling and how this can be used to show FRM solutions that work in an urban area. An absorbing presentation on the Shoreham tidal defence project demonstrated that community engagement and true collaboration led to design changes which created opportunity and benefits for the project.

There were similarities across the projects that highlighted the importance of looking at the whole catchment to understand and manage flood risk; early and continued consultation are key to get a project success; and that change during a project happens and this often improves the result. It was a great opportunity to share our learnings from each of the different projects. I was proud to be given the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences.

This year’s Flood and Coast conference was a busy one for us, with various members of our team speaking at the event, and a well-attended Capita Black and Veatch exhibition stand. Capita Black and Veatch are a joint venture working together providing services for the Environment Agency. The conference examined the resilience and response between government bodies and local authorities with businesses, major infrastructure and asset managers, as well as affected communities.

Further highlights of the conference were seeing Anita Camilleri, our People Development Manager, win the Women in FCERM award at Flood and Coast 2019. At the annual Project Excellence Awards, there was a great win for our Keadby Terminal Assisted Outfall project team who won two awards: The Environment Agency’s Best Business Case of the Year award and they were highly commended for Excellent Asset Management.

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