The York Flood Management Plan identifies short, medium and long-term holistic solutions for the management of flooding in York, UK informing the Environment Agency’s 5-Year and Long Term (100 year) plans. The project looks beyond traditional engineered solutions towards a wide-ranging whole catchment strategy to protect the city from future extreme weather events linked to climate change.

The Boxing Day flood in December 2015 was the worst to hit the city since 1982, causing wide-scale disruption to multiple communities during the Christmas period. The flooding affected over 600 homes along the River Ouse and River Foss, highlighting the need for all authorities with responsibility for managing flood risk to work together to minimise the threat to local communities.

We’ve worked with the Environment Agency, City of York Council and other stakeholders to identify what changes could be made in the short term to the existing flood defences in York and what new defences could be built to increase the level of protection to at least 2,000 homes. We undertook a series of 23 Initial Assessments identifying over 70 potential engineering options that could provide a consistent standard of protection across the city. The York 5 year flood plan, which outlines these potential options, was published in November 2016.

Whilst hard defences are appropriate in certain locations, some parts of York would not be best served by such measures.  Wider catchment based solutions such as upstream storage and natural flood management present more suitable options for these areas and have the ability to deliver resilience to future climate change for residents. By thinking wider than the conventional hard flood risk mitigation measures, and taking a total catchment management approach, our work is enabling the Environment Agency, its partners and stakeholders to work together to shape the way that floods are managed into the future through the Long Term plan.