Perceptions and practice in Natural Flood Management: unpacking differences in community and practitioner perspectives

Divergent community and practitioner perceptions of Natural Flood Management (NFM) may impact wide-scale uptake, but are under-researched, especially in peri-urban environments. This mixed-methods study used picture- and scenario-based exercises, interviews and envisioning workshops in a post-industrial, peri-urban area of Greater Manchester, UK. Key differences were unpacked, with community members showing less confidence in NFM, and more confidence in grey infrastructure than professionals. Community confidence in installed NFM measures was, however, higher following a major storm event. Analysis suggests the value of demonstrating how NFM reduces flood risk, together with other co-benefits, through early engagement plus interpretation in the landscape. Uncertainty around effectiveness can be addressed using a learning-through-doing approach, enabled through field observation by community members. There is potential to engage more effectively around multifunctional benefits, framing NFM as green infrastructure that enhances biodiversity and recreation from the start. These findings hold significance for increasing uptake of NFM worldwide
Funding Information
  • Carbon Landscape Programme, funded via the National Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK Government via Natural England

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