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Manage floods

42% of floodplains in England and Wales are separated from their rivers largely by engineering (The National Ecosystem Assessment, 2011)

Flooding incidents are destructive to people, property and wildlife, and they are becoming more and more common.

The causes are numerous: building on floodplains, which decreases the capacity of the land to soak up water; failure to build methods of capturing excess water into land use plans; lack of water drainage solutions in urban areas; and a focus on short-term and expensive measures such as dredging. These solutions have their place but need to be considered together with natural solutions which benefit wildlife and people.


  • wildlife and people are protected
  • water is managed using natural methods, such as via healthy uplands acting as a sponge, and through more water resilient agricultural methods such as planting trees in appropriate places and restoring floodplain meadows
  • intertidal habitats are protected and created in the right places to protect against coastal flooding
  • there are no further building developments in floodplains
  • water-smart principles are used in the design of new houses
  • all new developments have sustainable drainage systems to prevent water run-off and which are designed to benefit wildlife and people.
  • local authorities retrofit existing developments where appropriate.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Anon.