Council shares flood recovery experience with university

Wednesday 1 June 2011

The remarkable efforts to help Cockermouth recover from the floods of 2009 will be profiled in a nationwide study of how businesses can cope with similar emergencies in the future.

Allerdale Borough Council is assisting a team of academics led by the University of Salford with detailed research on the town centre’s flood recovery process.

Dr Les Tickner, the Council’s Flood Recovery Co-ordinator for Cockermouth, is working alongside the university’s academic team, led by Dr Bingunath Ingirige.

The case study will look at how Allerdale Borough Council worked with other agencies and community groups to open up emergency reception centres for people flooded out of their homes and how the Council’s Building Control team ensured flood-hit buildings were structurally safe for rescuers to enter, as well as considering the continued initiatives aimed at revitalising the local economy, such as the Cockermouth shop front heritage scheme.

Dr Tickner said: “This is a great opportunity for Allerdale Borough Council to share its experience of working with the community on emergency planning and disaster recovery with the University of Salford. This may lead to a blueprint being drawn up so that – in addition to us learning lessons from our response to the floods – other organisations across the country can also learn how to cope with similar situations should they face them in the future.”

Dr Ingirige and his team are involved in another research project on the broad theme of resilience of small businesses against effects of extreme weather.

The extreme weather events research team at the University of Salford are well renowned and respected experts in this field; having been involved with other universities such as Greenwich and the West of England – as well as organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses and the Association of British Insurers – on researching community resilience to extreme weather.

The Cockermouth research is intended to improve the planning and resilience options for small to medium-scale businesses not only in the Allerdale area but also elsewhere. The project will also allow lessons to be learned in other parts in the UK which have experienced flood events in the past.

The research is funded through the RICS Education Trust and it is expected to be completed by the end of August 2011.