Broadland Futures Initiative

The Broadland Futures Initiative (BFI) is a partnership for future flood risk management in the Broadland area.

Our main goal is to agree a framework for future flood risk management that better copes with our changing climate and rising sea level. The focus will be on what happens from the mid-2020s onwards, however we need to start planning now to secure support and make well-informed decisions.

Flooding can affect many aspects of community life in our area; tourism, recreation, the natural environment, agriculture and where we live and work can all suffer adverse impacts as a result of flooding. The Initiative will make sure that these interlinked interests are all considered, with the full involvement of local communities and other stakeholders.

What area are we interested in?

Flooding aerial © mike page

The Broadland landscape is a rich mosaic of wetland habitats, farmland, winding waterways, towns, villages and historic features, coastal beaches, dunes and low sandy cliffs. At its heart is the Broads National Park. The rivers flowing into and through this area drain around two thirds of Norfolk and much of north east Suffolk. Due to the low-lying nature of the area, these rivers are also significantly influenced by the tides.

This area abuts with the sea in many ways. From cliffs on the North Norfolk coast, adjoining low level land protected by a sea wall, to the urban areas of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft and neighbouring settlements. With changing sea levels all of these parts of the coast can be vulnerable to impacts from the sea in the same way that intense rainfall may rush down the river valleys to the coastal towns.

Landscape has been influenced and shaped over thousands of years by natural processes and by the way people have lived and worked. Rising sea levels and a changing climate make the area increasingly vulnerable to the risks of flooding and erosion, with the local environment and economy increasingly reliant on flood defences.

The partnership - Who’s involved?

The Initiative has been set up by organisations responsible for managing coastal and inland flood risk. The Environment Agency have the lead responsibility and will be working with Natural England, County Councils, Internal Drainage Boards, Broads Authority and National Farmers Union. The Broads Authority will support the Initiative Project Team and governance arrangements.

The BFI will also work in partnership with local communities and other stakeholders to identify the way forward. This will be a democratic process, with local politicians making the core decisions in order to agree a framework for future flood risk management that better copes with our changing climate.

The decisions made must be acceptable for our local communities, for the environment, and also be technically possible and affordable. The cost of future flood risk management will require local as well as government funds, and we will also need to identify where the money will come from.

What work has been done to date?

flooding at geldeston

A review of current flood management policy for this area was carried out in 2016. The review used existing information including projections for changes in the environment, technology and funding. It also identified areas where more evidence is needed. These now need to be shared with a wider group of stakeholders alongside establishing a governance structure to support the review of flood risk management in the area.

How you can contribute

The important next steps are to develop a stakeholder base from across the geographic locations and interested parties. We are also interested in any offers of time, leadership and other resources that you may be able to provide.

By completing a survey in June 2019 we hope to better determine:

  • What local interests are likely to be affected by changing flood risk.
  • Which organisations you think are involved with managing flood risk.
  • The information local communities might need to know about flood risk and climate change.
  • What local knowledge and resources might be available to help the Initiative as it progresses.

Using the information you provide we can then confirm our core scope of work. We can be clear with our stakeholders what we will and won’t be able to cover in the Initiative. We will also gain an appreciation of how aware you and others are of the existing situation and what additional information will be needed. In the months ahead, please look out for drop in and other events throughout the Broadland area that we hope you will take part in.

Broadland Futures Initiative Newsletter

We want to communicate with as many of you as possible. All of the organisations involved in the BFI partnership believe strongly in community engagement, value your input, experience and local knowledge.

Through our recent survey we found that the most preferred method of keeping you all informed is via email and through our webpage. Here we will host our newsletter and other content as we progress. We will make announcements on forthcoming public events and share details on how best to get involved.


Contact the Broadland Futures Initiative Team

Broadland Futures Initiative
c/o Broads Authority,
Yare House,
62-64 Thorpe Road,
Norwich, Norfolk