Natural flood management in Lancashire could save £millions, protect homes and businesses whilst improving the environment, a major new study finds.
A new collaboration between United Utilities, Co-operative Insurance, Flood Re and environmental consultancy Viridian Logic is looking into more natural ways to reduce flood risk whilst also improving water quality and storing carbon.
The findings of this work will be shared for the first time at a green finance event, the Natural Capital Investment Conference in London on 28 February.
The Wyre River is one of Lancashire’s flood risk ‘hotspots.’ Flood events that would previously have been expected to occur once every 50 years are now occurring once every five years.
The study examines the potential for planting woodland, reversion to semi-natural grassland and creating water retention features to help reduce flood risk. Computer models are used to prioritise which actions in the landscape could most reduce flooding at individual properties.
The modelling and research suggest that the right interventions in the catchment would drastically reduce the number of houses that flood, saving up to £11 million over 30 years whilst at the same time storing carbon and improving water quality. This combination of landscape interventions with property-level flood defences gives compelling justification for environmental investment in natural flood management, which would benefit businesses and the government as well as individuals.