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Research will assess the impacts of flood management

New international project will investigate hidden costs of floods communities

The University of Exeter will lead an international project to investigate the hidden impact of adaptation measures designed to protect flood-prone communities worldwide.

The researchers will assess the full impacts of measures such as building new flood defences, managing rivers, or relocating whole communities to protect against flooding. Flood protection measures affect residents’ fear of future flooding, their community cohesion, and their property values. The research is funded by the medical charity the Wellcome Trust to highlight the health and well-being impacts of floods. The research will work with flood agencies to assess whether their plans are effective, fair and robust to future change.

The project brings together a wide range of expertise at Exeter, uniting climate researchers with public health and data experts. The research will be conducted in Somerset, and in Ghana and Ireland with partners at the University of Maynooth and University of Ghana.

Project lead Neil Adger, Professor of Human Geography at the University of Exeter, said: ‘This team takes on the task of planning for future floods, and brings all the expertise we can bring to bear. Ultimately, climate change affects all of us and no community or locality is likely to be immune. We need to ensure that decisions are being made in good faith to protect people from flooding worldwide including people’s health associated with such traumas.”

 The funding comes from Wellcome’s Our Planet, Our Health programme that funds research to provide strong evidence for lead policymakers, businesses and the public to make more informed decisions on key issues that affect the environment and health.

The collaboration involves Professor Richard Smith, of the University of Exeter Medical School, and Dr Karyn Morrissey, of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health.

Date: 9 October 2019