• A POSTnote on natural mitigation of flood risk will focus on recent research on natural flood measures and climate change at the catchment scale (modelling and observational) that can inform flood management.
  • It will examine the current evidence for the effectiveness of different land management measures on mitigating flood risk, such as riparian woodland, wetlands and flood meadows.
  • It will look at barriers and opportunities for implementing land management-based solutions, including managing community perceptions of effectiveness.
  • Finally it will explore how best to empower local communities to deliver land management-based solutions to flooding.
  • In production. To contribute expertise, literature or an external reviewer please email Sophus Ermgassen.

Areas in the UK are projected to experience increased flood risk with climate change. Land management is an important influence on flood risk across catchments. This POSTnote will examine the current evidence on how different land uses can reduce or increase flood risk, including the potential role of restoring natural features, such as riparian woodland. Additionally, it will explore the role of local communities, and the evidence for how to empower local communities to implement effective land management solutions at catchment scales.

The UK’s 2017 Climate Change Risk Report outlines that surface water and riverine flood risks is likely to increase over the coming decades in line in some areas with projected increases in heavy rainfall events. In response and in recognition of the various co-benefits, including climate mitigation, the UK government has expressed interest in further exploring land management-based solutions (such as restoration of riparian woodland) to managing flood risk. This has been formalised in publications such as the 25-year Environment Plan.

However, land management-based solutions face numerous challenges to effective implementation. While there is evidence of successful flood risk mitigation outcomes in smaller catchments for some measures, the evidence of effectiveness across large spatial scales is uncertain. Advances in observational and modelling methods may reduce this uncertainty for flood mitigation planning and implementation. Additionally, land management-based solutions face specific institutional challenges because of the requirement to coordinate the actions and manage the perceptions of large groups of stakeholders. However, at the local scale community-based management for organising land management solutions has been highlighted in the draft flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy (the strategy will be published in 2020).

The aims of this POSTnote are to provide MPs and Peers with an overview setting out recent research on natural flood measures and climate change at the catchment scale (modelling and observational) that can inform flood management. It will focus on the current evidence for the effectiveness of different land management measures on mitigating flood risk, such as riparian woodland, wetlands and flood meadows. It will examine barriers and opportunities for implementing land management-based solutions, including managing community perceptions of effectiveness. Finally it will explore how best to empower local communities to deliver land management-based solutions to flooding.