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Leeds flood risk public event is timely

Centre news
Press release

A public event at the University of Leeds will conduct “live” learning with its audience to discover peoples’ responses to flood risk issues.

The unusual format, which has been planned around participatory activities to create a two-way exchange, is for an ESRC Festival of Social Sciences special event on Monday 7 November. Researchers will conduct instant polling via hand-held devices and the results will be made immediately available.

The topic is timely: last Friday, a new Calderdale Flood Action Plan was published, committing £50m to the region’s flood defences and just today MPs on the Environment and Rural Affairs Committee called for major reform for the system managing flood risk, with a UK floods supremo, new flooding and coastal boards and a rivers and coastal authority.

These follow on from the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 calling for Britain to take urgent action on flooding and the National Flood Resilience Review, published in September, stating there was “a non-negligible chance that we will see further events of a similar, or maybe even greater, scale over the next decade” to the 2015/2016 floods.

“Streaming: Getting the social in flood policy”, will bring together civic, business, environmental and policy interests for an evening to learn about flood risk, hear about social science research and how it can be managed and to listen to stories from people affected by flooding. The event will also bring the impact of flooding directly and intimately to the audience through clips from the poignant film “Calder”. One of the film makers, Paula Sutherland, will be in attendance.

Only ten months ago Leeds and York, along with many Yorkshire towns and villages, were profoundly affected by the Boxing Day floods of 2015. Calderdale and Kirklees alone had over 1600 businesses affected and the total economic impact on the regional economy was around £170 million.  Many in these communities are interested in being better protected and an expert panel will offer perspectives on how to be more resilient and prepared in the future as well as responding to questions from the audience.

The panellists are Dr Rosalind Bark, European Commission Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Fellow and Associate of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP); Jonathan Moxon, Flood Risk Manager, Leeds City Council; Stephen Curry, Chair, Upper Calder Valley Renaissance (UCVR) Business Flood Recovery Team; Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council and Executive Member for Environment and Sustainability and Professor Jouni Paavola, Director of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, who will chair the event.

The event is jointly hosted by the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Priestley International Centre for Climate as part of the Festival of Social Science run by the Economic and Social Research Council (5-12 November). The festival celebrates some of the country’s leading social science research and interaction between researchers and audiences is a key element: over 500 researchers have been helped to engage with new audiences and the organisers of the Leeds event hope that the live polling will appeal to audiences as well as producing valuable research outputs.

Advance registration is essential:

Further information

ESRC Festival of Social Sciences

The 14th annual Festival of Social Science takes place from 5-12 November 2016 with more than 250 free events nationwide. Run by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Festival provides an opportunity for anyone to meet with some of the country’s leading social scientists and discover, discuss and debate the role that research plays in everyday life. With a whole range of creative and engaging events there’s something for everyone including businesses, charities, schools and government agencies.

A full programme is available at You can also join the discussion on Twitter using #esrcfestival

Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy

The Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) brings together some of the world’s leading researchers on climate change economics and policy with a mission to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research. The Centre is hosted jointly by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics (LSE) and is chaired by Professor Lord Stern of Brentford. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Priestley International Centre for Climate

The Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds brings together world leading expertise in all the key strands of climate change research. As well as forging new international partnerships, the Priestley Centre’s focus is on interdisciplinary research partnerships that better link our physical, technological, economic and social understanding of climate change with strategies for mitigation and adaptation. The Priestley International Centre for Climate is one of the University’s flagship strategic investments in response to the global challenge of climate change, with £6.82m invested in it over five years. The director is Piers Forster, Professor of Physical Climate Change in the School of Earth and Environment. @priestleycentre #climateleeds


The film Calder can be viewed here:

Stephen Curry

Stephen runs a guest house (Angeldale) in Hebden Bridge and has experienced four major floods in the town since 2000. He is chair of community company, the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance, which set up a business recovery team after the 2015 boxing day floods. They are now working with Calderdale Council on a long-term economic recovery plan across six towns, on a 20 mile stretch of the Calder catchment


Contacts for press

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2016

Simon Wesson, Press Officer  01793 413122

Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy

Bob Ward, Policy and Communications Director (Media enquiries)  020 7107 5413

Margo Hanson, Centre Administrator, University of Leeds (General enquiries)  0113 343 6817

Priestley International Centre for Climate

Kate Lock, Communications Officer  0113 343 9767