Heavy rain

Flood research

Our online resource is designed to support business, and those working with business, identify research to support their projects and decision-making in preparing for and responding to flood events. It includes current and completed UK Research Council-funded research from the past decade, as well as new projects to watch for results in the coming years.

The projects are assigned to categories titled before, during and after a flood, or  can be filtered using the following broad classifications:

Particular thanks to Dr Paola Hernandez Montes de Oca (University of Leeds and Professor Bingunath Ingirige (University of Huddersfield) for their assistance in reviewing this resource. Thanks also to Graham Brogden (Aviva) for his time and advice, as well as all speakers and participants at the ARCC flooding and business workshop held in Leeds in October 2017.

Smart forecasting: joined-up flood forecasting (FF) infrastructure with uncertainties

University of Sheffield

July 2016 – June 2021

WATCH THIS SPACE: Reliable and comprehensive flood forecasting is crucial to ensure resilient cities and sustainable socio-economic development in a future faced with an unprecedented increase in atmospheric temperature and intensified precipitation.

Research Council: EPSRC

Stakeholder involvement in the development of flood risk management intervention options

University of Nottingham


This project promotes advancing stakeholder participation beyond consultation, which offers a range of benefits for local flood risk management. It is critical for businesses to be involved and make the most of working with stakeholders.

Research Council: EPSRC

Suburban Neighbourhood Adaptation for a Changing Climate (SNACC)

Oxford Brookes University

September 2009 – December 2012

Adaptation to changes in the climate are important to suburban neighbourhoods, where 84% of the British population choose to live. Specific building-level adaptation opportunities relating to flooding include: green roofs, SUDs, rainwater capture, storage and use; increases in gutter, downpipe and drainage size; moving all electrical outlets, metering, boiler and electrical equipment above flood level; replacing carpet and wood floods with permeable surfaces; raising entry thresholds; adding overhangs and shading elements that can block driving rain; local knowledge of individuals; re-organising dwelling contents so nothing important is on the lower level.

Research Council: EPSRC

The 2013/14 winter floods and policy change: the dynamics of change in the aftermath of major crises

University of Exeter

July 2014 – June 2015

It is essential to understand the perceptions of the problems and solutions that evolve during the year following a flood event in order to better understand how longer term policy responses occurs at local and national scales.

Research Council: ESRC

The economics and financing of resilient urban infrastructure

University of Leeds

January 2018 – January 2021

The essential upgrading required by existing UK infrastructure rates poorly compared to that of other advanced economies (HM Government, 2017). Poor infrastructure affects the productivity and competitiveness of businesses and industries, and increases the risks of adverse economic and social impacts due to extreme weather events, such as flooding. This project will develop the economic case for investing in resilient urban infrastructure at a city scale, exploring the synergies between disaster risk reduction and improvements in productivity, economic growth, employment, environmental quality, and human well-being. It will focus on the Leeds city area, which has been affected by extreme flooding in the past, seeking to draw lessons that can be applied more broadly to other cities in the UK and abroad.

Research Council: ESRC

The impact of flood risk on commercial property insurability, maintenance and recovery, property utility and, ultimately, property value

University of the West of England


Flooding has the potential to have significant impact on the value of properties depending on the level of inherent vulnerability. Experts argue that it is not the actual risk but the perception of risk among property holders that influences vulnerability of value.

Research Council: Other

The summer after the floods

University of Birmingham

September 2014 – August 2016

A real-time examination of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of flood recovery and resilience. The scale, diversity, persistence and severity of the UK flooding events in the winter of 2013/14 provide a unique opportunity to study flood recovery from the perspective of businesses, homeowners, local communities and environmental quality. Research from a multi-disciplinary team helps to uncover: which factors enable or inhibit fast and effective flood recovery from the perspectives of business, social justice and environmental stability, and how can communities, businesses, government organisations and policy makers prepare to mitigate and reduce the impacts of future flood events?

Research Council: ESRC

Tool for planning and evaluating urban green infrastructure – Bicester and beyond

University of Oxford

January 2016 – April 2018

Bicester is a designated Garden Town with an ambitious plan for sustainable development (Eco Bicester – One Shared Vision). The town is due to double in size over the next 15–20 years, with the building of 13,000 new homes. This will increase the pressure on existing green infrastructure (GI) but also presents opportunities to incorporate large areas of new GI within the developments. The NW Bicester development, which will be the UK’s first Eco-Town, has a target of 40% of land allocated to green space. There are also plans to make this both zero carbon in terms of energy usage, and water neutral, and to use SUDS for water management. The overall ambition is a high quality GI network that could showcase Bicester as a key example of sustainable development in practice and make it an attractive place to live and invest.

Research Council: NERC

Tree selection for green infrastructure

Lancaster University

January 2016 – March 2018

Can we improve our current approach to tree selection for green infrastructure projects? You shouldn’t rely on nursery information alone, this can offer conflicting advice. In using science to better inform tree selection, you will learn that trees from humid, moist under-storey environments do not have the drought tolerance to thrive in difficult urban planting sites.

Research Council: NERC

Troubled waters – reaching out (projects 1 & 2)

Bath Spa University

September 2015 – January 2018

The winter storms of 2013–2014 set new precedents of coastal damage in the UK, forcing government, heritage bodies and local communities to seriously reconsider the future management of coastal heritage. Organisations and communities were seemingly unprepared for these events, and were surprised by their own emotional response. In the low-lying island nation of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean, over 100,000 citizens face the possibility of permanent relocation due to climate change and sea-level rise which threaten homeland and heritage. Troubling in itself, Kiribati also presents an unsettling visualisation of a collective future. These diverse settings are brought together in this project through the exploration of current and potential loss of heritage in times of accelerated climate change.

Research Council: AHRC