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Structural measures for flood risk management

Natural flood defences

The natural environment is increasingly being used for flood management in response to policies that require sustainable development and adaptation to future climate change. Natural flood defences generally require less investment and maintenance than constructed defences. In addition, they may also benefit wildlife and reduce pollution.

Naturally occurring habitats, such as mudflats and salt marshes are increasingly being used to accommodate flood water. This can slow down the progress of flood water and prevent flooding in developed areas, whilst benefiting the environment by attracting a variety of vegetation and animal species.

Natural England recommends the use of wetlands to increase flood storage and the use of restored peat bogs to reduce runoff to rivers and streams.

Restoring rivers to their natural state by removing structures that are no longer required, such as culverts and concrete channels, can allow water to flow freely and help to reduce flood risk in some areas.

Natural England

Natural England is a independent public body which aims to protect and improve the natural environment in England.