Flood defence infrastructure and management is a key part of what civil engineers do, and ICE’s Media Team were called on to provide comments from ICE experts, including Past President David Balmforth who is a Flood Expert. They also helped to arrange media interviews with the press to help the public understand more about what causes floods, and what civil engineers are doing to help prevent them.
Professor Balmforth, an accomplished civil engineer specialising in flood risk management and urban pollution control, was quoted in a number of national news organisations including The Guardian, The Times and The Economist, saying:
“Events like this serve as a harsh reminder of the finite capacity of our flood defences, and the destructive impact extreme flooding has on our communities. Cascade failure of infrastructure services such as power and transport further exacerbate the disruption.
“Government’s commitment to invest £2.3bn in flood risk management over the next six years is welcome, but as extreme weather events become more frequent and unpredictable, we will need a more holistic approach to flood resilience.
“For example, local communities need a wider range of resilience measures so they are not solely reliant on conventional defences, we must adopt a ‘systems’ approach which tackles the ‘domino effect’ we see across the networks, funding for the maintenance of existing defences should be factored into spend plans from the outset, and where new development is proposed we should ensure resilience is at the heart of the design – not an afterthought.”
He also appeared on BBC News to offer his insight into ways in which flood damage can be mitigated in order for affected homes and businesses to recover more quickly.
A news syndication service also interviewed David, and the filmed piece appeared on over 15 local news websites throughout the North West of England, in areas most affected by the flooding.
In total ICE reached almost three million readers via national print titles, and almost four million TV broadcast viewers, demonstrating ICE’s position as the voice of infrastructure.
ICE Members are vital in helping promote the role of civil engineering in society and there are lots of ways to get involved including supporting ICE’s ‘This is Civil Engineering’ campaign.
The campaign is a public awareness initiative that showcases civil engineering by displaying huge banners at a wide range of construction sites across the country. The banners show the public what civil engineering is and how the project will benefit the community. This could be through protecting homes and businesses from floods, ensuring drinking water is clean or providing the roads and railways that keep people connected.
Since the campaign was first launched in 2012, over 100 projects have joined – raising their ‘This is Civil Engineering’ banners and celebrating the vital role civil engineering plays in society. ICE is looking for more flood defence construction projects to feature in the This is Civil Engineering.