Working with Natural Processes – Evidence Base

Organisation: Various

Location: National

Type: Apps & Tools

There has been much research on Working With Natural Processes (WWNP) to reduce flood risk, but it has never been synthesised into one location, meaning that it has been hard for flood risk managers to access up-to-date information on it and to fully understand its potential benefits.

To address this gap, the Environment Agency/DEFRA/NRW and SEPA published on the 31st of October 2017 an Evidence Directory which summarises the effectiveness of WWNP measures from a Flood and Coastal Risk Management (FCRM) perspective as well as their wider ecosystem service benefits.

It also includes:

  • a detailed literature review
  • 65 case study examples
  • 14 one-page summaries of each measure
  • guidance on monitoring


Open access opportunity maps

The open access opportunity maps can be used with key partners to help think about the types of measure that may work in a catchment and where to potentially locate them. The maps cover those WWNP measures that have been prioritised – based on the need for mapping – in consultations with Environment Agency staff and external partners.

They include:

  • floodplain reconnection;
  • run-off attenuation features;
  • gully blocking as a subset of run-off attenuation features on steeper ground;
  • and tree planting covering 3 categories (floodplain, riparian and wider catchment woodland).

Below you will find links to various maps and tools.

For more guidance on how to use the mapped products see the Mapping User guide – More detailed information on how to access the mapped products can be found in Section 7: How to access to maps (page 40 of the guide).



Interactive PDFs and GIS data - Available for each River Basin District

View and download the maps and GIS data created for the Working with Natural Processes - Evidence Base project, particularly the maps and data associated with Mapping the Potential for WWNP.

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GIS files

The open data WWNP interventions and constraints GIS layers can be accessed through the Spatial Data Catalogue

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WWNP intervention layers

Hosted by The Rivers Trust Mapping Portal. If you are an ArcGIS Online user you can request to join the CaBA Group for easy access to these layers.

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Working with Natural Processes - Summary

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Research Gaps

The Evidence Directory identifies the research gaps that still need to be addressed.

The catchment-scale Defra-funded natural flood management projects are working to address research gaps through long-term monitoring. We have also worked with the Natural Environment Research Council to develop an NFM Research call.

They are funding £3.4m of research which in the Upper Thames (Reading University), Cumbria (Lancaster University) and the Peak District (Manchester University) which will start to address many of the remaining research gaps.

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