A role for the public in the long-term management of English coastal flood risk?
Authors: Van Der Plank, S., Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J. and Tompkins, E.
Journal: Australasian Coasts and Ports 2019 Conference
The widely accepted flood risk management (FRM) doctrine acknowledges that measures such as control, accommodation and adaptation should constitute part of flood preparedness. We do not know the process and extent to which FRM through insurance, planning and engineering collectively manages coastal flood risk at a sub-national level in England. Therefore, this paper analyses the challenges to integrating these policy approaches to coastal FRM locally in England. Interviews in two regions with key stakeholders (n = 45) covered the costs, timing, power, responsibility, acceptability, equity, and effectiveness of FRM. Results from a thematic analysis of responses indicate challenges around the local integration of coastal FRM are long-term management and public participation. Respondents across insurance, engineering and planning suggested that England's national and local policies for coastal areas lack a long-term, shared, achievable and resourced vision. Funding policies prioritise individual soft and hard engineering schemes, making it difficult to obtain long-term government funding for managing the choice to accept or retreat from coastal flood risk. Stakeholders suggested the “public” should be more aware and involved in coastal FRM, but in both case study areas there were limited examples of ongoing long-term strategies to engage the public. The results suggest an absence of a holistic, adaptable, future vision for England's coasts where planning and other FRM approaches are combined, and a continued absence of the public in the decision-making process. Without support to actualise long-term adaptation plans and engage the public in that process, it is likely that non-defence coastal FRM options may continue to struggle to be realised.