Throughout history flood management practice has evolved in response to flood events. This heuristic approach has yielded some incremental advances, but flood risks continue to increase. A new approach is needed.
This thesis sets out a more strategic approach to flood management and demonstrates its application at national and regional scales (for the UK and the Thames estuary). Strategic Flood Risk Management (SFRM) is presented as an approach that adopts a systems perspective and relies upon an adaptable portfolio of measures to deliver outcomes for people, economies, and nature. Supporting tools are developed, including a hierarchy of highly efficient exploratory modelling approaches capable of exploring how flood risks may change in response to climate change, population growth, and alternative adaptation policies. New risk metrics are presented, including the Neighbourhood Flood Vulnerability Index (NFVI), and shown to provide new quantified insights into social vulnerability and systemic disadvantage across the UK.
The exploratory tools, metrics and framework are shown to have influenced long term policy and planning in the UK and elsewhere, with the Golden Rules of SFRM set out in the early years of the thesis are revisited and shown to have lasting relevance.