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Integrated Land & Water Management in Floodplains: Experience of Agricultural Flood Defence Schemes in England and Wales

Agricultural Flood Defence Schemes in floodplain and coastal areas were once an important element of Government support for farmers in Britain. More recently, however, changing priorities in the countryside, concern about environmental quality and perceptions of increased flood risk in lowland areas, in part linked to climate change, have promoted a re-appraisal of land management options and policies for floodplain areas.

A selection of agricultural flood defence schemes, previously studied by the research team in the 1980s, will be re-examined to identify and explain changes in land and water management that have occurred over the last 40-years. This will involve stakeholder and institutional analysis, farmer interviews, field observations and modelling of hydrological and related ecological processes. The influence of agricultural policy, interacting with farmer circumstances and motivation, will also be explored.

Using a mixture of scientific perspectives, options for future land and water management will be identified for the study sites. Opportunities for achieving a wide range of benefits will be assessed relating, for example, to farming, biodiversity, amenity, flood management, water quality and the wider rural economy. The study will inform strategies for floodplain management, helping to develop approaches that are appealing to major stakeholders.


Author: Joe Morris Date: 23 July 2009 Book chapter