NO future building in areas which are liable to flooding. A collaborative approach to flood risk management and sustainable options that work well with nature. These were three key messages to come out of the 19th Wales National Flooding Conference.

The Conference was organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and supported by the Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales and Cardiff University. It was attended virtually by leading organisations in flood risk management from across the globe.

Planning must consider Flood Mapping

To illustrate this point further, the Minister advised that the new Technical Advice Note (TAN) 15, by the Welsh Government, is being published on 1st December. The Note directs development away from greenfield to brownfield sites with the emphasis on building resilient developments. Wales is believed to be the first country in the UK, and possibly worldwide, to introduce planning policy based on maps showing the impact of climate change on flood risk areas.

Read the full Welsh Government Technical Advice Note (TAN) 15 HERE https://gov.wales/technical-advice-note-tan-15-development-and-flood-risk-2004

Held across three days the sessions explored the importance of flood risk management highlighting projects completed, underway and proposed across Wales.

Collaboration is vital to success

An important thread across all sessions was the need for collaboration from all involved parties. This extended from authorities and communities to individuals. Project failure as a result of climate change denial in certain sectors was shown as an important factor to overcome. Collaboration however, lead to a project success and was illustrated in the upgrade of community areas and the extended facilities for a future generation.

Work with nature not against it

During the final session The Natural Capital Approach and Natural Flood Management (NFM) were discussed. The Natural Capital Approach looks at how nature is helping the environment and its benefits. Research was shown that studying the landscape of an area and basing decisions on its natural resources plays a vital role for the sustainability and success of a scheme. Examples of NFM, the practise of using natural processes to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion, were given. These included: restoring bends in rivers, changing the way land is managed so soil can absorb more water and creating saltmarshes on the coast to absorb wave energy.  It was announced that NFM has been extended for another year in Wales due to the Covid crisis.

Keith Jones, Director ICE Wales Cymru said:

“This annual conference provides leaders in flood management to get together and present invaluable insights into the situation and solutions needed to tackle this problem in Wales and worldwide. Lessons learnt and ideas for the future are discussed and shared with delegates paving the way for a more sustainable environment for all. I am so appreciative with the thought and expertise that is brought to the table. “