Direct action self-help groups in UK flood risk management

Simm, Jonathan (2015) Direct action self-help groups in UK flood risk management. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis critically evaluates the reasons and extent to which Direct Action Self-Help (DASH) groups are, or can be, viable and an efficacious, efficient and effective means of managing and monitoring Flood and Coastal erosion Risk Management (FCRM) assets.

FCRM DASH groups are found to be motivated by challenges of increasing flood risk and reduced public funding, alongside a sense of stewardship and community solidarity, catalysed by a few motivated individuals. The thesis develops a conceptual framework of the different dimensions, contextual aspects and motivations for DASH activity. Case studies show that channel maintenance work by DASH groups can be effective and efficient at reducing some aspects of local fluvial flood risk for lower order flood events. By contrast, maintenance of existing sea walls by DASH groups is less efficient because of the need for significant expenditure on materials and is only efficacious if the engineering is quality controlled; its longer term effectiveness is limited by sea level rise.

Professional FCRM coordination and support of DASH activity is examined using a case study of an Environment Agency (EA) area coordinator and comparisons with alternative approaches. Support of DASH groups by FCRM professionals is essential to avoid unwise activity and to provide practical support, seed-corn funding and advice on the nature and extent to which DASH activity might be appropriate. The most effective form of DASH facilitation requires a quality and quantity of involvement that cannot readily be supplied by dispersed arrangements from a number of individuals.

The thesis also proposes an approach for assessing and scoring the human dimensions of engineering assets. The dimensions of Sense of Security, Accessibility/Availability and Delight/Inspiration reflect insights from key thinkers from a wide range of disciplines. The framework is verified for the FCRM context and its practicality evaluated by trials in which DASH and other community groups assess human dimensions.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Smith, M.J.
Seymour, S.M.
Mawdesley, M.J.
Keywords: Direct action, Self-help groups, Great Britain, Flood damage prevention, Coastal zone management, Citizen participation, Risk management
Subjects: T Technology > TC Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
Item ID: 29541
Depositing User: Simm, Jonathan
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2016 08:26
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2017 13:51

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