Community Participation in Local Flood Early Warning in England and Scotland: Processes, outcomes and influences

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Community participation is suggested to have benefits for natural hazard early warning at the local level, including strengthened communication and dissemination of warnings, and improved response of those at risk.

While previous research has focused on how participatory early warning systems have been implemented in different contexts, there has been limited investigation of what influences the process (enablers and barriers), and what the potential outcomes of such systems are. This information is needed if effective community level early warning processes are to be established and sustained.

The aim of this study was to understand how participation in flood early warning (FEW) takes place at the local level in the UK, the outcomes, and enablers and barriers. The UK was chosen as the study area as community participation in flood risk management is common. Fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted. Respondents were selected for their expertise in FEW, disaster management, and community involvement. The responses were recorded, transcribed, and analysed thematically.

The findings indicate that participation in local FEW commonly occurs through volunteers, and by residents informally. Participants were found to be involved in acquiring and sharing information on flood risk and warnings, and conducting preparedness actions. Identified outcomes were the provision of additional local information for decision making, greater reach of flood risk information and warnings, and strengthened community ties and wellbeing. Relationships with authorities, the flood risk faced, and the burden placed on volunteers were considered influences. Future research will investigate these aspects in more depth using case studies.
Period8 Dec 2022
Event titleUnited Kingdom Alliance for Disaster Research Conference 2022: Disaster Research and Innovation at a Time of Global Uncertainty
Event typeConference
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational