A UK Cabinet Office review after the 2007 floods highlighted different types of knowledge needed for effective flood risk management, along with knowledge gaps. This paper explores key, emerging aspects of this expanded knowledge base, namely relationships between expert and local/lay knowledges, the changing nature of local knowledge of community flood risk, and how attempts are being made to incorporate local knowledge into science, policy and practice. Sustainable flood knowledge, as an aspiration, integrates expert, local and political knowledge to build community flood resilience. The research involved stakeholder interviews undertaken before and after the 2007 floods, Severn catchment, UK and examination of policy documentation. The paper focuses on scale issues in relation to knowledge types suggesting that local knowledge can be ‘expert’ in large-scale mapping of flood processes. It reflects on how local flood knowledges can be captured, shared, harnessed and used, and assimilated into governance structures for flood resilience planning. The paper recognises progress in integrating local knowledges in flood science and governance, but also highlights challenges. It concludes that the 2007 UK flood experience is generating new understandings of the value of local knowledges, and how these might be successfully used in flood risk management practice.

This content is only available as a PDF.