The idea for this project was developed by the Environment Agency and partners during 2013. At the Newcastle Science Festival in September 2013 there was a chance to work with members of the public to look at new flood hazard maps which were being developed.
Members of the public attending the festival were able to give feedback on how they understood the information presented in the maps, and make recommendations for improvements. A report of the event can be downloaded here.
The Environment Agency and Sciencewise decided that it would be good to be able to involve more members of the public in different areas of the country in discussing how best to communicate about flood risk, and encouraging people to take action where possible.
This phase of the project started in November 2013, preliminary planning stages and meetings of the Oversight Group and contractors working to deliver the project, 3KQ, Collingwood Environmental Planning and Osprey Communications.
A series of workshops commenced in May 2014, running through until September. In each of five locations, Leicester, Oxford, York, Skegness and Newtown, a representative group of people were recruited to take part in an introductory mid week workshop in the evening followed by a full day workshop on the following Saturday.
The locations were chosen to represent a mixture of factors – type of flooding or potential flooding, i.e. coastal, river, surface water, and urban/rural areas.
Discussions from all these workshops was analysed, with the findings being discussed at a meeting of the project Oversight Group and informing the final dialogue workshop in Birmingham.
This brought together a range of participants from each of the workshops which took place, including specialists and members of the public. They were joined by other representatives of the Oversight Group to focus on issues and ideas raised in the initial workshops which it is felt could benefit from further discussion.
A final project report is being compiled in discussion with the Oversight Group and Sciencewise and is expected to be complete early in 2015.
In the meantime, findings from the workshops are already having an effect. For example, members of the Environment Agency’s team responsible for flood warnings have been taking learning from the workshops into their planning for improvements to the flood warning service.
September 2014 – Dialogue workshops in Newtown
There was a good turnout in Newtown, Wales for the final workshops in the first stage of the Flood Risk Communications Dialogue project. Participants were used to seeing flooding affecting roads in the area, and, like in other locations, had plenty of ideas and suggestions to contribute to the discussions. For further information, click here.
July 2014 – Dialogue workshops in Skegness
In early July, the project team was in Skegness, talking to residents at risk of coastal flooding. Although there were fewer participants in Skegness than in other locations, discussions were lively and gave everyone plenty to think about. For further information, click here.
June 2014 – Dialogue workshops held in Oxford and York
The workshops in Oxford and York took place in June 2014. Unlike in Leicester, participants at both locations were people who had experienced flooding themselves which gave a different dynamic to the discussions. For further information click here.
May 2014 – First dialogue workshops take place in Leicester
The first two dialogue workshops took place in Leicester in May 2014 with 22 participants taking part from different areas of the city which have been identified as high or medium flood risk. For further information click here.
Throughout the entire process, we carefully planned details of workshops and worked on recruitment of participants to make sure we got the right mix of people at all the sessions.