Floods in Northern England

Case Study 5 Combined fluvial and pluvial floods in Northumberland and Cumbria

This case study builds upon previous research on flooding carried out by Northumbria University, in the town of Morpeth in Northumberland, as part of the preceding European project, MICRODIS (www.microdis-eu.be). The current UK emBRACE case study will be carried out in the north of England in the town of Morpeth, situated within the county of Northumberland, and three towns (Keswick, Cockermouth and Workington) in the county of Cumbria. The Morpeth case study will have a focus on exploring social learning amongst the community in the context of flooding. Morpeth has flooded twice in recent times, once in 2008 and again in 2012, and this provides a good opportunity to assess what lessons have been learnt and how behaviour may have changed to facilitate adaptive capacity and resilience to flood events. Knowledge gained so far in this case study location will feed directly into WP1. The opportunity will also be taken to carry out specifically-focused data reanalyses, with these results feeding into the individual (task 4.2) and community resilience (task 4.3).

Northumbria University has established contacts in Cumbria, particularly in the towns of Cockermouth and Keswick, through research carried out by Northumbria University postgraduate students. The Cumbrian case study will focus more broadly on social capital and other resource sets, (including social, human, physical, financial and natural capital) and will aim to explore how these elements interact to foster or hinder community resilience. The research methodology for the UK case study is primarily qualitative and will include stakeholder meetings and qualitative interviews with key individuals.

This case study will be used as a basis for the investigation of post-2008 policy changes in the EU and UK (e.g. Floods Directive; Flood and Water Management Act 2010; Pitt Review) and especially those which deal with the uncertainties of pluvial/fluvial events. Interviews and stakeholder meetings will be used to identify what impacts and influences these combination floods and new policies will have in terms of how the type and provision of available social protections (e.g. structural or non-structural FRM measures) are deliberated and delivered at the local scale. This investigation will feed directly into task 4.4 and will draw support throughout from WP7, especially through the wider stakeholder group’s facilitation of participatory Peer-to-Peer Learning Exchanges between flood affected communities in Northern England.

The main case study report was submitted to the EU on 31st Dec 2014 and is downloadable here:

An example of the case-study research activity - Social network mapping with local residents

emBRACE researchers spent an evening with local residents to map connections with organizations and individuals during the floods of 2009.

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