Sustainable Flood Memories

On Thursday 3rd October, The ESRC project “Sustainable Flood Memories” led by Professor Lindsey McEwan at the University of the West of England will be holding a conference at the Gloucester Guildhall on Sustainable flood memories and the development of community resilience to future flood risk.

The conference will explore the nature of flood memory and its relationship to the development of local knowledge for increased community resilience to local flood risk.  The event represents part of the 30 month ESRC Sustainable Flood Memories project, which has worked with communities and organisations in the lower Severn valley in the aftermath of the July 2007 floods.  In particular, the event will reflect on:

•        how communities remember and archive flood experiences

•        how these memories are materialised, assimilated, embedded and protected in contemporary communities and culture

•        how sustainable flood memories might have a particular role in developing community resilience to residual risk

•        how communities themselves and organisations charged with flood resilience planning can engage with, and support, development of sustainable flood memories

More details about the conference and project can be found here:

Reflections on the York Flood

I live in Naburn on the outskirts of York. Naburn is on the banks of the Ouse and floods to varying degrees during periods of intense rainfall. The village was cut off for 10 days during the floods of 2000 and Prince Charles famously came and had a half pint in the Blacksmiths Arms. There’s a job!

I set off for work after the school drop off this morning but quickly turned back and had to leave the village by the route which now “doesn’t flood” since some additional works were done post 2000. My wife was heading to town so I phoned through and she went the ling-way round to the Park and Ride. All pretty much as normal. She was delayed in town and ending up taking an hour to get back as the bus was diverted (flood closed A19 in Fulford in between Naburn and York centre). She made it back in time to fill in for some mums at the school gate who hadn’t got back in time and we ended up with an extra guest from our daughters class for the night as their parents were stuck. I left my car up the road so I can get out tomorrow AM (I’m not alone). My wife cancelled her swim class – set off but had gone out in her wellies and no driving shoes!

We haven’t made many other plans for what happens next – flood waters due to peak at 8am as this part of the river is also tidal. There is a good chance school will be shut but that hasn’t been declared yet. I’ve got a fixed meeting I’d really rather not cancel tomorrow morning so this could fall to my wife. We’ve both had time off (or rather displaced work into evenings or later in the month/year) when our youngest was poorly. That’ll be a real pain – although the kids were speculating and “well happy” with the prospect.

Fingers crossed it doesn’t make it over the sandbags and into the properties closest to the river. There are other places further up such as Cawood where the bridge is shut so small scale disruption at least is quite widespread. There are lots of transport closures and route diversions.