Mott MacDonald helps highlight flood risk in Lincolnshire

Posted: Wednesday 1st July 2009

Mott MacDonald is working with the Environment Agency (EA) on highlighting the risk of flooding to communities along the coast of Lincolnshire, UK, as part of the consultancy’s appointment to the nationwide Strategic Flood Risk Management (SFRM) framework.

Mott MacDonald helps highlight flood risk inLincolnshire

Mott MacDonald is working with the Environment Agency (EA) on highlighting the risk of flooding to communities along the coast of Lincolnshire, UK, as part of the consultancy’s appointment to the nationwide Strategic Flood Risk Management (SFRM) framework.

Mott MacDonald is providing flood risk mapping for the Lincolnshire coast and the Wash using two-dimensional hydraulic models that will anticipate the effect of water breaching and overtopping the region’s coastal flood defences.

The aim of the project is to inform the EA’s long-term flood risk strategy for the coastline, as Sun Yan Evans, Mott MacDonald’s project manager for the scheme explains, “Breaching of the flood defences may be triggered by a large storm, such as a spring tide with a large surge component, similar to the devastating floods that occurred along the east coast of England in 1953, affecting communities like those at Mablethorpe and Skegness in Lincolnshire. In order to improve the understanding of tidal flood risks and effectively manage the flood risk based on a risk-based approach, the project is mapping the extent of flooding from overtopping or breaching of the sea defences, depicting hazard ratings, along with potential depth and velocities for use by the local authorities and emergency services in the case of an evacuation due to flooding.”

She continues, “The maps are critical as they allow the authorities to know which access routes, for example, are likely to become inundated during a flood. They are also used in planning, enabling the EA to support or object to the development of property on the grounds of predicted flood risk.”

The Environment Agency Flood Risk Mapping & Data Management Team Leader John Ray said the work will “help us fully understand the potential flood risk in the area, and how this may be affected by climate change. This information will help us, our professional partners and the communities at risk be better prepared for a major tidal surge”.

The project will provide comprehensive mapping of the whole of the East coast, between the Humber and the Wash and includes the communities of Mablethorpe, Skegness and Boston.

A significant component of the project is to predict the extent of future breach flooding for extreme events, such as a 0.1% chance flood, over a 100 year horizon. To do this, Mott MacDonald’s project team is taking into account the impact of climate as sea levels are expected to rise.

Ms Evans adds, “One of the most technically interesting aspects of the project is mapping the large volumes of water that could affect the area if the coastal defence line is breached during a flood. Most two-dimensional hydraulic models are relatively small and look only at an isolated geographical area, however the project team is looking at a particularly large and flat coastal floodplain which is presenting computational challenges.”

The modelling and mapping project is set for completion in October 2009.




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