The ICE has joined forces with other industry bodies in a call for a more joined up approach to tackling urban flood risk.
In a joint policy statement the group says it is no longer feasible to continue trying to defend communities from all flood risk and future strategies will have to be based on building flood resilience into urban design and community support.
It also stressed that to realise the full benefit, resilience measures will need to contribute to creating quality urban environments and to managing the wider aspects of the water cycle.
The group consists of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Royal United Services Institute and the Landscape Institute.
Chair of the group David Balmforth said flooding is a very real risk in and is only going to get worse.
“If we rely solely on flood defences and ever larger drainage conduits, we will not be able to keep pace with climate change,” said Balmforth. “We need to rethink our approach to urban design and the development of our urban communities. Flood risk management must be at the front of the planning and development process, not at the end.”
This means using more resistant materials and methods in construction as well as creating the space in urban areas for flood water to safely pass on the surface during extreme events. Flood risk management should be factored into all new development, both to ensure that new urban areas will be sufficiently resilient and to avoid impacting on existing areas downstream. Difficult decisions over whether new development should take place at all will have to be taken in some areas.
Balmforth continued: “Future urban communities are likely to be different from those we see today. Buildings will be laid out differently to be more resilient to flooding, and roads and pathways will double up to act as flood channels during very heavy rain.
“We have a real opportunity to create exciting and pleasant urban communities but to do this all the professions will have to work closely together, and the government will have to lead by setting appropriate legislation and regulation in place.”
The policy statement has been produced as a guide for the built environment professions as well as government bodies and wider industry.
- Download the statement atwww.ice.org.uk/knowledge/document_details.asp?Docu_id=2369&faculty