Youngsters and community leaders with first-hand experience of the devastation caused by flooding are helping to draw up action plans that will improve the way we can respond to future floods in our region.Working with water system scientists from Newcastle University, the school children are being asked to share their experiences of flooding so the team can build up a picture of events and look at ways of improving future outcomes.
Organised by the University’s Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS) and sponsored by the British Hydrological Society, the event is being held at the Great North Museum: Hancock, and will bring together scientists, teachers, community groups and school children to discuss the lessons learnt from recent flooding across the North East and Cumbria.
Schools taking part in the event include English Martyrs School in Hartlepool, Kenton High, King Edwards in Morpeth and Newcastle College.
Newcastle University’s Dr Andy Large, who is leading the project, explained: “Over the last decade, northern England has been hit by a series of major floods – Carlisle in 2005, Morpeth in 2008 and Cumbria in 2009 spring immediately to mind – and damage to property and livelihoods has been severe.
“Forecasts for UK river systems suggest a future increase in the number of these extreme events, and by the end of the century scientists predict we could see a 10-30% increase in the size and severity of UK rainfall.
“This has potentially devastating social and economic implications affecting people’s physical and mental health and disrupting and dispersing communities.
“Impacts range from those from contaminated water, through to lasting psychological consequences caused by damaged homes, loss of personal possessions and long-lasting financial worries.”
Newcastle University is recognised as a world-leader in Sustainability research and today’s event aims to examine sustainable and sensitive solutions to flood events.
By building a network of scientists conducting solutions-driven research in areas including such as natural hazards and extreme events, the aim is to develop practical strategies to address these challenges within the constraints of climate change, societal priorities and increasing human population pressure on natural resources.
Today’s event will include a display of photographs and artwork from the children and community groups to build up a picture of flooding across the North East.
published on: 9 February 2012