Wyre Natural Flood Management Project

Organisation: United Utilities

Location: Lancashire

Type: Case Studies & Projects

Modelling Natural Flood Management (NFM) interventions for multiple benefits and developing a market to drive investment for catchment and property resilience. 

United Utilities in conjunction with the Environment Agency, The Rivers Trust, Cooperative Insurance and FloodRe were interested in Natural Flood Management (NFM) to protect communities in the North West, as well as deliver broader environmental benefits. The trial focused on a catchment in Lancashire where downstream communities are regularly flooded by water draining from five river catchments that collectively cover 150 square kilometres. 

New modelling technology was utilised to prioritise the best location to install NFM in the catchment and the identified interventions were modelled to understand the benefit across a range of ecosystem services. Intervention benefits will include property and business flood protection, biodiversity and habitat creation, water quality improvements, carbon sequestration and improved recreational value and land management. The intention is to use these benefits to agree future payments which can be used to attract investment to deliver the interventions.

Considering a 1 in 50-year flooding event, even with a 0% uptake of additional property level protection, the cost-benefit of NFM actions will show a 15 times return on investment over a 30 year period. 

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