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The University of Hull’s flood hazard and risk research has informed UK national flood policy and has guided an investment of £2.6 billion of government funding between 2015 and 2020, resulting in improved flood protection for more than 300,000 homes nationwide.



The UK had no robust warning system for localised pluvial flooding. The ‘1 in 30-year event’ average usually used in UK urban flood planning is not appropriate in all regions; and the structure of UK water governance left no single agency with overall responsibility for managing flooding.



Research by the team presented multi-factorial analysis of how the devastating 2007 summer floods across the UK developed so quickly and why the physical, institutional, and regulatory structures designed to prevent flooding failed comprehensively.



Research directly informed the findings of the highly influential 2008 Pitt Review and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. It continues to influence new policy frameworks, shaping new national legislation including the Water Act 2014 and the related Surface Water Management Action Plan 2018.

Research recommendations have been incorporated into the development of the Environment Agency’s new National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England.

Regional Surface Water Management Plans (SWMPs), which are now fully codified since the Water Act 2014, mandate planners, investors, and developers to incorporate flood risk into their planning. 


More information 

Institution: University of Hull

Researchers: Professor Thomas Coulthard, Professor Lynne Frostick, Professor Graham Haughton

This case study builds ongoing impact from a case study presented in REF2014 and describes extensive further, and new, impact on flood legislation and policy within the REF2021 period.

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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2023) Informing flood risk management & resilience strategies nationally & globally. Available at  Last accessed on: <date>