Project outcomes and beyond

Specific outcomes

The six individual projects which constitute the FRAMEs pilot were completed in May 2020. A full assessment and quantification of outcomes will be published in a final project report to be completed in summer 2020.

In the video below, the lessons learnt and outcomes of this pilot are summarized:

Provisional outcomes are:

  • Completed projects at four sites at Bedgebury, Sissinghurst, the Alder Stream and School Stream
  • Demonstrations of Leaky Woody Structure and Naural Flood Management techniques
  • Work underway to deliver projects at a further six sites in winter/spring 2020
  • A monitoring programme in place to assess the flood mitigation and ecological benefits of the NFM works. Collaboration with Kings College London and Ambios in developing innovative monitoring techniques. Baseline studies of the ecological condition of key sites.
  • An evidence base for the construction of safe and effective NFM measures, compliant with regulatory requirements.
  • Increased financial support for the project from Maidstone Borough Council.
  • Progress in the creation of geographically based website to share results, known as the ’Storymap’.
  • Climate Change Risk and Impact Assessment for Kent and Medway (methodology and summary of findings)
  • The Medway Flood Partnership produces the Medway Flood Action Plan. The year 2 report featured the contribution of  the SERT FRAMES NFM project and is available here.
  • The lessons of the pilot have been widely disseminated through our partner networks, articles in the local press, on TV and radio, and through SERT’s social media channels. A recording of a webinar produced to explain the principles of Natural Flood Management and which features video of leaky woody structures in action during the storms of February 2020 can be seen here:

 Process results

  • Engagement of the Medway Flood Action Plan Strategic Group in the Multi-Level Safety Approach, and awareness-raising of the other layers piloted by other FRAMES partners.
  • Awareness raising of the FRAMES NFM pilot in the Medway at a national level through vists by the chief executive officers of Forestry England and the Environment Agency to demonstration sites.
  • Meeting of the Medway Flood Partnership April 2020 to discuss future funding options for NFM in the catchment
  • Capacity building in the sector through the increased understanding and upscaling  of practitioners, contractors, volunteers and stakeholders.
  • Community support from the flood affected settlements of Headcorn and Five Oak Green, and the wider population of the Medway.
  • Landowner support for projects from seven private individuals, two charities, one public agency and one private water company.
  • Increased awareness of Natural Flood Management as a means of increasing environmental resilience among the general population through appearances on the media including BBC regional TV and Radio:

The BBC visited the Medway pilot several times and made a special report about it:      

Flood risk management strategies (FRMs)

Historically, flood risk governance in the UK has been the responsibility of many actors in multiple sectors. Flood Risk Management at a national level is delegated to the Environment Agency by central government, with local government holding key responsibilities for spatial planning and flooding prevention, response and recovery at a local level. Private water companies, landowners, and other local bodies such as internal drainage boards also have key roles to play, and the aim of the Medway Flood Partnership is to bring these actors together to develop a more holistic and coordinated Multi-Level Safety Approach to the problem of flooding.

The next table shows the FRM strategies that were considered before, during and after FRAMES project.

Layers of MLS Before FRAMES


1 Flood protection Spent over £9.8 million in maintenance and improvements of flood defence infrastructure in the catchment (Environment Agency, 2017) such as reinforcement of Leigh Flood Barrier (interview pilot manager, 2019) Natural flood management (NFM) interventions, capacity building in the sector, creation of two demonstration sites for the promotion of NFM (interview pilot manager, 2019). Provide case studies about the effectiveness of NFM measures, ongoing monitoring of the effectiveness of the structures until 2021, discussions on extending funding for NFM beyond the lifetime of the FRAMES project (interview pilot manager, 2019).
2 Spatial adaptation Property measures to avoid water entering the houses (Environment Agency, 2017) This is an action which is being delivered by other partners within the Medway Flood Partnership (interview pilot manager, 2019). Actions delivered by other members of the Medway Flood Partnership and planning authorities, informed by learning from the results of the FRAMES project (interview pilot manager, 2019).
3 Preparedness and response Awareness and preparedness works among communities (flood warning service)
  • Over 90% (8,497) of people at risk of flooding across the catchment have signed up to the Environment Agency’s Flood Warning Service across the Medway Catchment.
  • Through Kent Resilience Forum over 300 volunteer flood wardens have been trained and recruited (Environment Agency, 2017)
Share information and knowledge about NFM interventions using demonstration sites and increase the awareness and capacity among practitioners.

KCC improve community resilience through activities such as: raising awareness of flood risk, building individual preparedness, emergency planning activities to ensure local communities are ready to respond, and identifying community measures to reduce the impact of flooding (interview pilot manager, 2019).

Expected that local authorities could integrate these activities within their own practices because the NFM are low cost effective flood risk management measures. And that they will work directly with the local communities.

Changes in agriculture policies by paying farmers for pubic goods such as environmental services such as flood prevention, biodiversity and amenity are now proposed in the UK (interview pilot manager, 2019).

4 Resilient recovery Low attention The Medway Flood Partnership plan to increase the capacity of local communities (social and health care sector) to recover as a result of a multi-level approach and input from the  FRAEMS Kent pilot (interview pilot manager, 2019). Improve recovery of community by increasing prevention and preparedness (Environment Agency, 2017)

Lessons learnt

A full explanation of the lessons learnt will be published in the final Medway NFM Project Report. Key lessons are:

  • The need for a Multi-Layer Safety Approach, in order to bring together stakeholders at all levels to collaborate on solutions from prevention to recovery. This is exemplified by the success to date of the Medway Flood Partnership. The need to have a long-term vision, especially to deliver NFM which is effective at larger scales.
  • The need for effective collaboration and mutual support between all stakeholders to deliver effective NFM solutions on the ground.
  • The need  for wide consultation and gathering of a wide range of spatial and technical data, as well as local information from local practitioners and communities to identify target sub-catchments where NFM measures are likely to be effective.
  • The need for effective decision measures to select and agree priority sub-catchments and to designate resources for delivery.
  • The need to identify land ownership and to build relationships with local private landowners in order to secure agreements to deliver the work. This is especially important in Kent, (and probably much of similar areas in lowland England) where most NFM opportunities are on private land, distributed between many landowners on a small scale.
  • The need for a close study of sub-catchments to explore the full range of NFM opportunities available and suitable for local conditions.
  • The need to identify NFM solutions which are appropriate to local geological, ecological and social conditions.
  • The need to identify NFM solutions which offer a neutral, or positive impact on farm businesses, and which offer positive multiple benefits: for biodiversity, amenity, or farm operations.
  • The need to engage local communities to support the work through the promotion of the potential benefits, as

well as being open ab

out it only being a contribution to a wider suite of multi-layer interventions.

  • The potential to engage volunteers, especially from local flood affected communities to deliver some NFM interventions at levels appropriate to their capacity.
  • The need to develop best practice techniques in the creation of safe and effective Leaky Wooden Structures.
  • The need to build capacity and skills in the sector, among practitioners and contractors, building on successful examples and demonstration sites.
  • The need to build wider public support and understanding of NFM as a means of promoting expansion of the work
  • The need to engage support from political leaders and demonstrate cost-effectiveness of the approach in order to secure resources for continuation of NFM delivery, and to maintain a strategic approach to environmental resilience and multi-layer safety
  • The need to effectively manage and deliver projects to maintain support from landowners, communities and stakeholders
  • The need to plan projects carefully and to navigate regulatory hurdles; especially for larger flood storage projects where many regulatory bodies require consultation, and preparatory investigations into ecology, landscape and archaeology.
  • The need to up monitoring programs at a early stage in order to establish baselines against which effectiveness can be compared.
  • The need for ongoing monitoring and evaluation in order to drive best practice, and provide results for future decision making.

Dissemination and up-scaling of pilot results

  • There is much potential for expansion of NFM delivery to other priority sub-catchments, to the Medway catchment and neighboring catchments in the South East of England. This is on the agenda for a Medway Flood Partnership strategic group at the Sissinghurst NFM demonstration site.
  • There is potential for future expansion of NFM in the UK as a result of the Agriculture Bill proceeding through the UK Parliament, which promises to provide opportunities to pay landowners for the provision of public goods such as flood mitigation and biodiversity enhancement.
  • There is also potential for stakeholders such as Forestry England, Kent County Council, the Environment Agency, the National Trust and the RSPB to mainstream NFM as part of their existing delivery (Pilot Manager 2020).
Many of the lessons learned through our participation in transnational exchanges have been shared with our partners, and are now being adopted and enthusiastically promoted by political leaders in the UK.
News item Medway.jpg

Transnational exchange

What can the countries learn from each other considering the different layers of MLS approach?

  • Multi-Level Safety Approach: The learning from the FRAMES project on this approach is fed in to the Medway Flood Partnership at a senior level by the Trust Director of South East Rivers Trust.
  • Protection: Share knowledge with the other pilots in the UK about the potential of implementing NFM interventions to reduce flood risk and building resilient communities, promote this method of increasing protection and knowledge to other FRAMES partners working in similar landscapes (interview pilot manager, 2019).
  • Pro-action/prevention: Received input from decision making regarding urgency and costs of measures for prevention/pro- action of critical infrastructure from Reimerswaal, Sloegebied, Wesermarch and Kent pilots, especially on how to overcome the implementation gap of adaptive measures in the long term.
  • Preparedness & response: Share knowledge in working with local communities (landowners and farmers) to develop NFM solutions in disaster management and action plans (FRR). Learn about emergency response (evacuation route and emergency planning) from Wesermarsch, Alblasserwaard and pilots in Zeeland and on risk communication and capacity building (among authorities, businesses and citizens) from Wesermarsch, Alblasserwaard, pilots in Zeeland and Ninove.
  • Recovery: Learn from flood recovery from Roskilde (DK) on rebuilding plans, and Southwell (UK) on flood insurance/compensation.