Broadland Futures Initiative

Together, we improve the resilience of people, places and the environment to flooding, as we adapt to the changing climate.

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.

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.

BFI plan objectives

Here you can view our agreed objectives for the BFI strategy. The document helps you to learn more about what these important objectives mean for the future development of the strategy and how they shape our collective mission to improve the resilience of people, places and the environment to flooding, as we adapt to the changing climate.

Getting local people involved

You gave us your opinion - BFI Toolkit of Actions to Reduce Flood Risk

Please view our interactive toolkit (PDF) for more information about the possible flood risk management actions.

Please be advised the interactive elements of the pdf are not compatible with mobile devices. For the best experience we recommend using a laptop or PC. Download our printer-friendly version here.

Between 16 June and 14 July 2023 we consulted people on the toolkit of actions and asked:

  • Do you agree that these actions should be in the toolkit?
  • Are there any actions missing from the toolkit?

Many thanks to those who took time to take part in the consultation.  From the responses received there was overwhelming agreement that the 16 possible actions presented should be included in the toolkit and no missing actions have been added.  This result will inform us as we develop ideas about how different actions might work together in different parts of the Broadland area.

BFI Infographic

Young People Online Survey

Young people’s views are really important as you are the ones that will be living with the outcomes of future flood risk management in the Broadland Area. The survey was available from 7 July until 1 August 2021.

Online Survey 2021

Our online survey was live from 18 January until 31 May. Without the ability to meet face to face, an online survey provided a vital tool for us to hear as many of your views as possible.

This early phase was about hearing from our stakeholders and local communities, regarding their priorities in a world where climate change might affect us in many ways including through the risk of flooding. This online survey also represents the next step and the beginning of tailoring our engagement approach to specific groups. Building on this survey, we will look to focus our attention on particular topics and groups to understand in more depth the likely challenges posed by future climate change and flooding, and the possible consequences of different flood risk management interventions. For example this could include those at higher flood risk, and those with certain perspectives such as farming, recreation, business, conservation, and the youth sector.

As the lifecycle of the project progresses we will continue to undertake focused engagement to ensure that the community remains at the heart of the BFI strategy. You can view the interim results below and the final results will be uploaded when the data has been processed.

BFI Virtual Exhibition 2021

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic a virtual exhibition has replaced our face to face engagement that we would undertake in normal circumstances. We will look to resume these events in the future, but we need to follow the government guidance to keep us all safe. Our virtual exhibition hosted a suite of information, from videos, posters, to helpful FAQ’s and much more from 18 January to 31 May 2021.

We have been able to ensure that the virtual exhibition will remain open for visitors in the long term. The exhibition is, however, closed for consultation, so you will find the survey element of the exhibition now closed. Please click the below link to take a look around.

Virtual Village Hall Events

In 2021 we hosted a series of virtual village hall events where for anyone could attend and listen to our project team speak about the Broadland Futures Initiative. We provided a presentation on the BFI along with an opportunity to submit questions via the app.

To view recordings of the events please see below:

Read the Study Reports

Infographic showing the different BFI study reports which are linked below

Study reports will inform the wider BFI strategy. Please find the current reports below:

Interactive Story Maps

Please feel free to explore our interactive story maps below, with multimedia content combining maps, narrative text, and images to explore both the impact of flood risk management and future climate change within the plan area.”

Online Flood Modelling Survey

We wish to continue to keep stakeholders and communities at the heart of the BFI project and so we are inviting the public to contribute to our latest computer-based flood modelling. New flood models are complex and this process is likely to take some time. However, all flood models require calibration and validation using real-world observations. Here, is where would love to hear from you. If you wish to find out how you can contribute or to share information that you are aware of locally, we invite you to click the link below and have your say in our online survey.

The survey ran from 28 February 2020 and closed on the 29 March 2020, results will be shared on our webpage and at our public consultations later this year.

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 web page. 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.

Please email us if you wish to join the Broadland Futures Initiative mailing list.

Initiative Project Team Meeting Minutes

Please click the links below to access minutes of our Initiative Project Team Meetings. If you have any further queries please get in touch via the contact details shown at the bottom of this page.

Elected Members Forum

The role of the Elected Members Forum (EMF) will be to provide a strategic steer, receive advice and recommendations, review progress and reach agreements based on financial, environmental and technical evidence presented by the Initiative Project Team.

The EMF will take back conclusions and seek formal endorsement from our Local Authorities, before final adoption by our Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC). The EMF will comprise one appointed representative from each Local Authority within the Initiative study area with an interest in flood and coastal risk management. The Broads Authority is also represented by one of their appointed councillors. It is envisaged that the EMF will elect its own chair and will be serviced by the Broads Authority for secretariat purposes.

Please find minutes of recent EMF below:

Public Meetings

  • Download the minutes of our 09 March meeting with members of Somerton Parish Council and Horsey Parish Council to talk all things flood modelling.
  • Download the summary note and presentation from the open public meeting on 4 November 2021 held in Somerton.
  • Download the report from the pilot workshop held in Hickling for the Upper Thurne Working Group in November 2022


Press releases

Contact the Broadland Futures Initiative Team

Before contacting us, please feel free to read our Frequently Asked Questions document where you may find the answer you are looking for.

If you wish to be kept informed about the project or still have any questions you can get in touch with the Broadland Futures Initiative using the contact details below.

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