On 26 March 2015 South Hinksey Village Hall was packed to capacity, with over 60 people attending the Second OFA Flood Symposium, organised in conjunction with the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. The afternoon was devoted to Natural Flood Management and Climate Change, particularly in relation to Oxford.
Prof. Mike Acreman is a wetlands specialist from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford. Dr. Lydia Burgess-Gamble, a research scientist with the Environment Agency, has national oversight of research on natural flood management techniques. They opened the meeting with two excellent presentations on natural flood management, its potential and its limitations.
Derek Holliday, National Head of Environment at the CLA gave us an enlightening insight into the problems, economic and practical, faced by landowners and farmers in relation to what they may be able to do to reduce flood risk on their own land or elsewhere.
Dr. Nathalie Schaller, leader of the research project ‘Human influence on climate in the 2014 Southern England winter floods and their impacts’, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford then gave us a wonderfully clear account of this project, suggesting that anthropogenic factors may well have played a part in these floods – with obvious implications for the future.
The success of the afternoon can perhaps be judged from the wide-ranging and lively discussion which followed for well over an hour.
More detail on the main messages which emerged during the afternoon will be published on this website soon.