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Farming land for water: does better catchment management hold the key to managing flood risk?

On 28 November 2016, we hosted an event with an expert panel to discuss our research into contradictory public spending and the impacts of land management on flood risk in England.


  1. Our panel: Professor Louise Bracken, executive director of the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience at the University of Durham, Daniel Johns, head of adaptation at the Committee on Climate Change, Ben Lukey, flood and coastal risk manager at the Environment Agency; and Angela Francis, senior economist at Green Alliance.
  2. The discussion was chaired by Will Andrews Tipper, head of sustainable business at Green Alliance.
  3. Angela Francis began the event by summarising Green Alliance's policy insight, Smarter flood risk management and its findings.
  4. Professor Louise Bracken argued for improved integration between water users, such as water companies and farmers, for better flood risk management.
  5. Daniel Johns spoke about the need to change England's flood strategy from the perspective of essential climate change adaptation. He suggested the role of land management had been ignored for too long, calling for 'wiser work', and greater confidence in natural solutions.
  6. Ben Lukey spoke about the Environment Agency's budget and its role in preventing and responding to floods. He suggested that natural flood management solutions should be pursued at larger scale, even though present evidence of its effectiveness was only available from smaller scale projects.
  7. Will Andrews Tipper opened up questions to the audience.
  8. Guy Shrubsole from Friends of the Earth suggested that attributing agri-environmental spending from CAP to flood resilience was over generous in the analysis and highlighted the need for a separate fund for natural flood management.