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Integrated management of floodplains

A Relu Policy and Practice Note (No. 15) summarising a project to investigate the factors influencing changes in land use on flood plains, and the ways in which land and water can be managed to meet the diverse and competing demands of agriculture, nature conservation, flood control and recreation.

Year of Publication2010

In England, over one million hectares of agricultural land lie within the indicative floodplain, that is, they have an annual risk of flooding of 1% or greater from rivers or 0.5% or greater from coastal flooding. Although this accounts for only 9% of the total agricultural area, it includes some of the most fertile and productive areas that have been ‘reclaimed’ and ‘improved’ for agricultural purposes over many years. The agricultural productivity of this land is maintained by the management of hydrological regimes in the form of flood alleviation and land drainage. Priorities for the use of rural land in England have, however, changed considerably in the last 50 years or so, affecting the way land is managed and the benefits provided. This is particularly the case in rural floodplains where the multiplicity of purposes, such as farming, nature conservation, recreation, and control of flooding, presents a major challenge for policy and practice – how can land be managed to meet such diverse and competing demands? This challenge is made all the more complicated by climate change.

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Additional keywords/tags

flood controlland drainagedrainageflood alleviation
Organisation Logo for relu: Rural Economy and Land Use Programme

Harnessing the social and natural sciences for sustainable rural development

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