COMMUNITY RESILIENCE TO EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS THROUGH IMPROVED LOCAL DECISION MAKING

Lead Research Organisation: University of Greenwich
Department Name: Sch of Archit and Construction

Abstract

In the UK extreme weather events (EWEs) are increasing in frequency and severity. The ability of local communities to cope with the immediate to long term impacts and recover from the aftermath is critical to their prosperity. Whilst the immediate responsibility for protection of life resides with the emergency services, and the restoration of basic services with the utilities, the short to medium term success of the local community resides with the individuals, businesses (predominately small and medium sized enterprises / SMEs) and local policy makers that constitute the community. Whilst each of these groups will be affected in different ways (depending on the type of EWE), it is their combined actions that will determine the resilience of the community. Policy makers must be aware of the expectations of households and SMEs and develop policy instruments that support these groups in ways that are sympathetic to their needs and aspirations; householders and local business must be aware of their exposure to the effects of EWEs and of the sources and level of assistance that they can expect from local agencies; SMEs must be prepared for the disruption that an EWE can bring and have contingency plans in place to help their immediate recovery (and ensure that they are able to support households in their recovery) and to secure their long term survival. The challenges for this project are to understand how each group of decision makers is affected by and respond to EWEs, and to identify the synergies and conflicts between their decisions that affect community resilience. The aim of the research is to develop an integrated decision making framework that supports the individual and collective actions of local policy makers, households and SMEs, in such a way that the actions result in the improved resilience of local communities to EWEs.

Publications

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Description The project sought to understand the inter-relationships between Households, SME's and Policy makes and the impact that these have on community resilience. The main finds were:

Each stakeholder community group believed themselves more socially responsible than the other two groups perceive them.

Policy makers believed they were most socially responsible while SMEs believed themselves to be more socially responsible than householders.

Generally the older participants reported higher levels of social responsibility. They are also more vulnerable to extreme events and display greater interest in hazards, acceptance of risk and the uptake of coping measures.

Recent flood experience was found to create experiential learning and raise reported levels of social responsibility, though not uniformly over location. It also brought out ethnic difference.

Ethnicity was found to matter amongst the flood experienced. Householder and SME stakeholders within the Asian group reported higher levels of social responsibility than the White group, who in turn reported higher levels of social responsibility than the Black group. Asians were found more aware and accepting of flood risk and more likely to adopt resilience measures.

SME's were aware of the problems associated with extreme weather events but did not prioritise these in business continuity planning. They were perceived as unavoidable risks.

Coping measures to deal with extreme weather risks were perceived to be too expensive to implement.

Policy was disconnected to reality. Perceptions between stakeholders were misunderstood and time frames made it difficult to address long term climate issues alongside short term community issues.
Exploitation Route The risk framing tool developed and tested in the project has been further refinement through a Innovate UK project and is now suitable for full commercial exploitation if funding is made available.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Environment

URL http://www.extreme-weather-impacts.net/twiki/pub/Main/WebHome/CREW_Final_Report.pdf
 
Description The findings informed the GLA and Central Government Policy on flooding resilience and have supported an LWEC Climate Change Impacts Report Card - Business on 'Unique Issues Faced by SME's due to Climate Impacts in the UK' (in press).
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Construction,Environment
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description TSB
Amount £99,967 (GBP)
Funding ID 1105_FS_LIB_DFFC2 13839-86229 (TSB) 
Organisation Technology Strategy Board (TSB) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start