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28 Jun - 01 Jul 2021

Virtual event

8-10 December 2020

Telford International Centre, UK

2021 Virtual Conference and Expo

Event Highlights

The Flood & Coast conference and expo took place 28th June - 1st July.

Read key takeaways from the event, access the full playlist of session recordings and access additional resources provided by our speakers and partners

Day 1: Delivering Together We shared lessons learned from recent flooding and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on response and recovery. We also explored the critical role of digital technology and local community support networks in building social resilience.
 
Everything is connected
  • There are cascading socio-economic impacts of flooding during a pandemic. Some of these impacts have been positive, however, and we saw how the pandemic has created new engagement touchpoints with communities that can also be mobilised to act on climate adaptation and resilience.
  • Environmental health and human health are one in the same and we should align our planning and investment in flooding and climate alongside that of health. We saw examples of new cross-sector partnerships building a more connected response to future emergencies for those in need.
  • Faith groups, local communities, and microcommunities have a strong motivation to help each other and protect and improve the places they care about. We were energised by stories about what is achievable both within and outside of policy and regulation frameworks when agencies listen to, engage with and inspire and engage with these groups.
  • The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital communications mediums in the FCERM sector and created new and faster opportunities to connect. We launched a digital hack with the Flood & Coast audience to understand how we can build an online community of FCERM practice and continue these important conversations after the event.  
Day 2: Future skills, knowledge and tools / A nation resilient to climate change We explored how the five nations are addressing climate change and showcased our industry’s latest approaches from hydraulics, modelling and forecasting to nature-based solutions. We also celebrated the perspectives and achievements of women in the sector with Women in FCERM. 

The challenge requires systems thinking.
  • The design and implementation of solutions that put nature first and deliver financially and socially sustainable benefits requires an integrated approach. We saw examples of projects from around the world where collaboration of people, funds, technology and data from the public and private sectors delivered a whole better than the sum of its parts'.
  • We learned about exciting new breakthroughs in technology and increased data resolution which are part of an ever-expanding toolkit with which to respond to the climate and ecological emergency. As the complexity increases, the challenge remains to communicate scientific outcomes in a straight-forward way that helps people at all levels make effective decisions.
  • We were reminded that for many people, it would be a luxury to worry about climate resilience. We saw examples of projects that clearly quantified outcomes in terms of economic benefits and improvements to quality of life and how that led to increased investment and accessibility.
Day 3:  Creating green and sustainable places We explored practical ideas on what it takes to create safe, future-proof places and discussed the initiatives paving the way from property flood resilience to sustainable drainage as well as the importance of innovative funding.
 
Mainstream multifunctionality.
  • Sustainable FCERM schemes can lead to more beautiful places to live with ecosystems that support species diversity, but only when multidisciplinary teams apply imagination and flexibility on both sides of the statutory divide. We saw inspiring examples of how planning and development can enhance communities through natural capital and cultural heritage.
  • We discussed the importance of empowering individuals to take personal responsibility for creating their own future-proof places. Our speakers and our audience shared a wealth of resources at Flood & Coast that provide hope, inspiration and examples that people can apply to their own lives.
  • Mainstreaming multifunctionality requires finance, and the topics of funding and how to make nature-based solutions affordable and accessible were raised during most sessions at the event. On Day 3 we hosted an interactive ‘ask the experts’ session on innovative funding and learned more about quantifying the wider benefits of nature-based solutions.  
Day 4: Shaping the future In a highly energetic session we challenged early careers professionals to propose climate change adaptation priorities for COP26 and reflected on the value of long-term planning and collaboration to bring about real transformation.
 
Race to resilience.
  • COP26 is the first COP since the coronavirus pandemic began and provides the opportunity to regroup and plan for a post-COVID world. We asked 10 early careers professionals ‘If you had your moment on stage at COP26, what would you say to world leaders?’ The top-voted pitches will be incorporated in a letter from CIWEM to Alok Sharma, President of the 26th United Nations Climate Conference.
  • The race to net-zero is underway, but progress towards a world below 2 ℃ of additional warming by 2050 is uncertain and many climate vulnerable nations have already been experiencing the impacts of cascading climate, food and security extremes for decades. In the closing plenary, we learned from examples of adaptive planning and resilience strategies in action and heard the unique experiences of the global leaders putting these plans in practice.
  • We asked our panel what success looks like to them at COP26 and common priorities were clear:
    • Adaptation and resilience at top of the COP26 agenda
    • Private finance mobilised towards adaptation and towards climate finance for developing nations
    • COP26 is inclusive and listens to direction from developing nations
COP26 is a monumental opportunity to elevate adaptation on the international agenda and to send clear market signals about the importance of nature in managing climate risks. Now is the time to race to net-zero, to race to resilience, and to race towards trillions invested in nature. Now is the time to adapt.  -Emma Howard Boyd
 
Produced by
Convened by
Gold Supporter
At Jacobs, we’re challenging today to reinvent tomorrow by solving the world’s most critical problems for thriving cities, resilient environments, mission-critical outcomes, operational advancement, scientific discovery and cutting-edge manufacturing. We turn abstract ideas into realities that transform the world for good. 

We have some 1,200 water and environmental professionals across the UK, and can reach back to a pool of approx. 4,800 working across the globe. Our water and environmental teams work closely with the diversity of technical professionals that is Jacobs, from all engineering disciplines to architects to digital solutions, to bring the best global capability and solutions to every local client. 

We are passionate in what we do and work  with our clients and communities to leave a lasting and positive legacy of which we can be proud. We bring unconstrained thinking and creativity to deliver bold sustainable outcomes. We are enabled and informed by new technology and approaches, applying these intelligently to what we do. We attract the very best technical and scientific minds – diverse, collaborative, creative and disruptive thinkers with a will to succeed where others have failed. 

Broadland Flood Alleviation Project  

The Broadland Flood Alleviation Project (BFAP) is a unique 20-year scheme to improve and maintain 240 km of flood defences within the Norfolk Broads, one of Europe’s most important wetland areas. Jacobs is lead consultant, working in an integrated team with Environment Agency and BAM Nutall.  

The main purpose of the project is to provide a strategic approach to improving the level of flood protection in Broadland, while engaging key stakeholders and the local community, which is fundamental to achieving this objective. The project area is located wholly within the Norfolk Broads, which is an extensive area of wetland covering some 30 000ha, with a status equivalent to that of a National Park. The focus of the project is to improve and maintain the flood defences along the tidal reaches of the Rivers Yare, Bure, Waveney and their tributaries in Norfolk and North Suffolk. As well as the 28 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the flood defences also protect 24,000ha of agricultural land, 1,700 private properties, 14 undefended communities, rail and road infrastructure systems, important archaeological and built heritage structural remains, and several recreational facilities. 

The project has come to its 20th and final year of implementation and has achieved its objectives of protecting homes and farmland from flooding. It has also meant protection and improvement of habitat for rare and endangered species. Other benefits include: an improved landscape, as well as a safer area for farmers and anglers, through placing over 3km of overhead electric cables underground; enhanced mooring facilities, improved navigation of channels and new slipways for boaters; new platforms for anglers, as well as 100km of upgraded footpaths for everyone to enjoy the area.
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Flood defence and community wellbeing | Jacobs at 'Adapting for Tomorrow's Environment'
Bronze Supporter
Floods can be commercially and personally devastating. That’s why you need to choose the right partner with the right knowledge, experience and product mix to work alongside you and your team to ensure that your project delivers the highest standard of flood protection available.  

Flood Control International work with a range of clients including public authorities, architects, engineering consultancies, private businesses and main contractors, that need to design in, or install, dependable flood mitigation measures for their clients or themselves where there is a risk that properties can be flooded and lives put in danger.  

Since 1994, we have been designing, supplying and installing the most comprehensive range of flood defence systems in the world. Our now 12 strong team of UK based, in-house designers have unrivalled experience in designing a range of project specific floodgates, flood doors, glass flood walls and flood barriers, with typical projects ranging from £50k to £2.5m. 

From our modular, FM Approved, demountable flood barrier system to fully automatic flood barriers that rise up / drop down or slide in to position as required, we will ensure that you get the right flood protection solution for your site.  

Our consultants and design engineers can identify the flood management solution that provides the best possible protection from floods. FCI takes its innovative flood prevention designs through the manufacturing process to deliver solutions built to the highest exacting standards using steel, aluminium and glass.  

A full installation service is available using our highly experienced trained fitters. From a simple slot-in flood barrier to the largest heavy duty steel floodgates, our professional installers are committed to delivering a safe and efficient service. Once completed, the flood prevention installation can be tested and training provided by our team on the correct use of the system.  

Our vision is to be the world leader in the design and supply of flood control barriers and gates for infrastructure and commercial / industrial projects.  

Bronze Supporter
BAM Nuttall is a leading civil engineering business, delivering design and construction services, creating sustainable environments that enhance people’s lives.
We are committed to net zero carbon operations by 2030.
Whole lifecycle collaboration 

From offices around the country, our teams collaborate with public and private sector clients to create and maintain sustainable outcomes while delivering long-lasting social value for the communities we live and work in.

To help us deliver projects and services in a lean, green and more efficient way, we use the latest digital technologies and modern construction methods. We heavily invest in skills that underpin our self delivery capability. And are supported by expert partners and a highly valued supply chain of specialist subcontractors. 

We constantly strive to improve the built environment by attracting and developing a more diverse workforce and reducing the carbon emissions associated with how infrastructure is designed, built, and maintained throughout its lifecycle.

We are a high-performing design and construction partner who collaborates with our infrastructure clients and supply chain, forging strong, strategic alliances that create value and deliver sustainable outcomes.

Protecting homes and communities 
Our work spans multiple sectors including rail, road, energy, tunnelling, ground engineering, flood prevention and water schemes.

The Environment Agency, part of DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), is one of our long-term clients. We have been a key partner for many years, helping to reduce flood risk and manage river levels through coastal protection schemes, river engineering and flood alleviation works, including:

Broadland flood alleviation project
A 20-year public partnership project, working with design partner, Jacobs, to design, construct and maintain river and flood alleviation schemes. Covering 30,000 hectares of environmentally and economically sensitive land, our work has provided sustainable and affordable, long-term flood defences for rural communities.

Water and Environment Management (WEM) Framework
Since 2013 we have designed and built, as BMMJV Ltd in a joint venture with Mott MacDonald, flood alleviation and coastal schemes to better protect over 70,000 properties from flooding.

The schemes include Boston Barrier, Humber Hull Frontages, River Hull Defences, Exeter Flood Alleviation Scheme and Dawlish Warren.

Our work has provided a significant contribution to the Environment Agency’s six-year programme target of 300,000 homes better protected by March 2021. 

Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Phases 1 & 2
We're protecting 1,048 homes and 474 businesses from flood risk, working as BMMJV on Phase 2 of the scheme.

Collaborative Delivery Framework (CDF) 
We are currently construction delivery partner for the Environment Agency in the North East and Eastern Hubs, protecting homes and communities by reducing flood risk and managing river levels.
 
Luton flood storage area
We are working for the Environment Agency, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and Luton Borough Council to benefit 600 residential and commercial properties, along with key infrastructure, in Luton.

The new flood storage area can hold back 140,000m³ of water, equivalent to 56 Olympic sized swimming pools, at times of heavy rain - it will then allow it to drain slowly and under control into the Houghton Brook.

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Gold Supporter
Working in partnership with nature: the complete package for today’s climate challenges 

In May, as it was reported that the world’s glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate, the Prime Minister announced an acceleration of the UK’s climate change commitments ahead of COP26, now pledging a 78% reduction in emissions by 2035. 

If we are to meet increasingly ambitious environmental targets, and ensure we are doing all we can to create a sustainable future for our planet, a completely fresh approach is needed. 

Atkins’ long history in catchment management has opened our eyes to the value of working in partnership with nature across all our projects. This, we believe, is the key to making real progress when it comes to climate change. 

A multi-benefit approach 

By working in harmony with nature using sustainable and adaptable approaches, we can address existing challenges such as flood resilience and biodiversity loss, while also considering the bigger picture and making realistic strides towards broader environmental improvements and social value.

A natural capital approach is key to this; taking account of the natural stocks and assets around us. In this way we can facilitate positive enhancements and design forward-looking projects that work in partnership with nature in the most effective way possible. Atkins’ Natural Capital Studio accounting tool automatically calculates natural capital across a range of scenarios to make it easier to integrate this approach into project planning, supporting sustainability targets and maximising the value of nature-based solutions. 

Atkins has a long history of designing nature-based solutions that make real improvements to habitat quality across catchments. Recently, we worked with the Environment Agency on Defra Natural Flood Management trials on the River Soar. The main objective was to reduce the risk of flooding downstream – which we did through a variety of natural measures – but the approach also highlighted opportunities to maximise natural capital and ended up achieving far broader benefits. By slowing the flow and storing water on the floodplain, the resulting wetland sequestered carbon, trapped sediment and nutrients, and created a rich habitat for a range of wildlife. 

Many stakeholders are looking at projects like the River Soar, and realising the real potential of nature-based solutions to maximise the natural capital value of their assets, marking the start of an industry and societal shift to working in harmony with nature.

Tools to work with nature 

Unlike traditional engineering solutions which are designed to achieve formulaic outcomes, nature-based solutions are not set in stone. In contrast, they are designed to evolve over time, so it’s not clear what future adaptations might be required. 

We’ve developed digital tools that allow us to assess different scheme evolution scenarios to increase confidence in the impact and value of nature-based solutions. Our NFM (Natural Flood Management) Studio uses detailed modelling to identify optimum locations for interventions, calculates capacity and simulates the effectiveness of various natural flood management solutions, while our SuDs (Sustainable Drainage Systems) Studio automates the assessment phase of drainage projects and identifies green infrastructure opportunities through digital mapping.

Using these tools to optimise value, nature-based solutions suddenly become much more attractive. By generating tangible calculations and accurate scenario modelling, technology can support decision making, encourage greener choices and avoid costly wrong turns.
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Nature based solutions for flood management | Atkins at 'Adapting for Tomorrow's Environment'
Bronze Supporter
AECOM is the world’s trusted infrastructure consulting firm, delivering professional services throughout the project lifecycle – from planning, design and engineering to program and construction management. On projects spanning transportation, buildings, water, new energy and the environment, our public- and private-sector clients trust us to solve their most complex challenges. Our teams are driven by a common purpose to deliver a better world through our unrivaled technical expertise and innovation, a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion, and a commitment to environmental, social and governance priorities. AECOM is a Fortune 500 firm and its Professional Services business had revenue of $13.2 billion in fiscal year 2020. See how we are delivering sustainable legacies for generations to come at aecom.com and @AECOM.
Bronze Supporter
Adapting to the uncertain: a different climate strategy 

Even though climate change is beyond doubt, planning for it involves uncertainty as to exactly how its impacts will progress and how fast. That calls for a flexible approach to building resilience, using adaption pathways to decide and act in a measured, affordable and effective way. 

Modelling of earth systems is at the heart of climate science, telling us what changes to expect in temperature, precipitation, sea level rise and acute weather events. Although climate models are calibrated to the observed climate, forecasts of future change come with ranges of uncertainty. 

Uncertainty stems from some big unknowns: our ability to meet global emission reduction targets; political determination to cut emissions and use of regulation and legislation to turn intentions into actions; and localised variations in climatic response. So how best to respond when the future looks ambiguous? 

By developing climate adaptation pathways and embracing uncertainty, organisations and communities can respond in a planned but flexible way to observed and projected changes. This approach involves applying various ‘if-then’ scenarios and designing options for a full range of possible futures, but only triggering action when the effects of climate change approach defined risk thresholds. 

Ready for change 
All adaptation pathways must be consulted on and agreed as part of long-term local strategies for improving local lives. When this happens, it makes clients and communities agile. If climate change results in rapid sea level rise, there is a resilience plan to implement. However, if the rise is more gradual, then protection can be pushed back, and investment deferred.  

Over time risk profiles may change as a result of altered emissions affecting the pace of climate change, changing land use, and changes in the number of people or value of assets. Adaptive pathways accommodate these variables too, keeping options open.  

Uncertainty about the exact trajectory of climate change and the return periods for major climate-related events is a significant challenge to securing investment in resilience. Because the adaptive pathways approach plots physical trigger points for action and clearly defines the consequences of inaction, it strengthens the business case.  

Better solutions and outcomes 
Deferring action until necessary provides time for new technologies to emerge. There is particular opportunity in digital solutions, which are rapidly improving our ability to model and comprehend large, complex challenges such as climate resilience, make better-informed decisions, engage stakeholders, communicate, make effective interventions, and assess the outcomes.  

Asset owners, governments and supply chain organisations are waking up to the potential of harvesting and using data to achieve this, with pioneers doing so to plan and deliver new assets. Immediate benefits include the ability to use data to quantify and reduce capital and operational carbon emissions and cost when developing and selecting resilience options. Libraries of digital assets enable solutions to be rapidly developed using ready-designed components, reducing time required to complete relatively low value design tasks and freeing more time for creative problem-solving, enabling better solutions that deliver greater value for money. Collaboration around shared data and using common tools enables experts from different organisations to work together effectively as teams. And stakeholders – from emergency service providers to community representatives – can understand designers’ intentions, see potential impacts and mitigations, and discuss ways to optimise project performance. All of these benefits are being delivered already through our technology platform, Moata. 

Projects being delivered today are providing digital assets for tomorrow. Data created during planning, design and construction provides owners with virtual models of their digital assets that can be augmented with data from diverse sources – sensors and SCADA embedded in the assets, remote sensing and monitoring, meteorological data, and user data, for example. Data is already enhancing our ability to see requirements and opportunities, target action, and achieve the greatest positive impact for our clients, partners and communities.  

Adaptive resilience employs a combination of traditional engineering with new approaches, including nature-based solutions that employ vegetation and landscaping to meet some or all of the protection required, while enhancing biodiversity and amenity value for people. The goal is proportionate, cost-effective and sustainable protection from the physical impacts of climate change. 
 
Find out more about Moata and the solutions it supports for carbon reduction, smart infrastructure and augmented delivery. 

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