Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-404
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-404

  30 Jul 2021

30 Jul 2021

Review status: this preprint was under review for the journal HESS. A revision for further review has not been submitted.

Barriers to mainstream adoption of catchment wide Natural Flood Management, a transdisciplinary problem framing study of delivery practice

Thea A. J. Wingfield1, Neil Macdonald1, Kimberley Peters2,3,4, and Jack Spees5 Thea A. J. Wingfield et al.
  • 1University of Liverpool, School of Environmental Sciences
  • 2Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven
  • 3Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity at the University of Oldenburg (HIFMB), Ammerländer Heerstraße 231, 26129 Oldenburg
  • 4Institute for Chemistry and Biology of Marine Environments [ICBM], University Oldenburg, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Straße 911, 26133 Oldenburg
  • 5The Ribble Rivers Trust, Clitheroe, Lancashire, United Kingdom

Abstract. Natural Flood Management (NFM) is the name given to Nature Based Solutions (NBS) for Flood Management in the UK. It is a holistic flood management technique that employs natural hydrological processes, through the instillation of interventions, to slow the flow of water, creating a landscape scale flood management system. Despite widespread interest and supporting policy from governments and non-profit organisations NFM, as yet, has not been widely adopted as a mainstream flood management technique. A small number of academic studies examining perceived barriers to NFM adoption have identified a variety of individual factors as being responsible. It is commonly accepted that flood risk management broadly, and NFM specifically, are complex, challenges of interacting physical and human parameters and that academic, institutional and policy divisions are rarely sympathetic to embracing these complexities. A transdisciplinary problem framing study in conjunction with professionals experienced in the delivery of NFM projects in the UK aimed to capture these multifaceted parameters of flood management and strategic delivery at a landscape scale using Group Concept Mapping, a systems approach to identify conceptual convergence. This policy-delivery impasse was further explored by quantifying the relative importance of individual barriers and conceptual groupings from the perspective of two different practitioner groups (flood risk managers and conservation practitioners). The results demonstrate that the NFM delivery system can be grouped into seven interacting elements: policy and regulation, politics, public perception, cross-cutting issues, funding, technical knowledge and evidence, of which each have a varying number of barriers that limit NFM uptake. Opinions differs as to the importance of these individual barriers, however when considering the system broadly we identify that the institutional and social barriers are perceived as the most important, whilst technical knowledge and evidence are the areas of least concern. This paper aims to promote NBS flood management delivery in the UK and globally by generating, structuring and representing the multifaceted and multilevel NFM delivery system at a local level to evidence adaptive decision making at a regional, national and global level. Through problem structuring and an increased understanding and awareness of the structure and network of linking elements and perceived differences of practitioner groups that influence the system of delivery, steps can be taken towards solutions that are socially, scientifically and practically robust.

Thea A. J. Wingfield et al.

Status: closed (peer review stopped)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-404', Heidi Grüneis, 11 Aug 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Thea Wingfield, 05 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-404', Lenka Slavíková, 08 Sep 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Thea Wingfield, 05 Oct 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on hess-2021-404', Anonymous Referee #3, 23 Sep 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Thea Wingfield, 05 Oct 2021

Status: closed (peer review stopped)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-404', Heidi Grüneis, 11 Aug 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Thea Wingfield, 05 Oct 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-404', Lenka Slavíková, 08 Sep 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Thea Wingfield, 05 Oct 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on hess-2021-404', Anonymous Referee #3, 23 Sep 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Thea Wingfield, 05 Oct 2021

Thea A. J. Wingfield et al.

Thea A. J. Wingfield et al.

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Short summary
Human activities are causing greater and more frequent floods. Natural Flood Management (NFM) uses processes of the water cycle to slow the flow of rain water bringing together land and water management. Despite NFM's environmental and social benefits it is yet to be widely adopted. Two environmental practitioner groups, collaborated to produce a picture of the barriers to delivery showing that there is a perceived lack of support from government and the public for NFM.