Rethinking the spaces and institutions of flood governance
PublisherUniversity of Hull
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In 2007 the city of Hull in Yorkshire, England, experienced extremely high levels of rainfall. The city is very low lying, built predominantly on drained land which relies on a pumped drainage system; as a result, the city flooded. There were a number of other incidents of flooding across England in the summer of 2007, but Hull was unusual as such a large proportion of the city flooded – 91 of the 99 schools in the city were flooded – the city was faced with a crisis. The flooding 2007 was widespread and also affected some politically sensitive areas, consequently, after the flooding, there was a government inquiry which looked specifically at the lessons that could be learnt from the event and Hull’s local narrative was picked up by the panel in this inquiry as it was an exemplar of pluvial flooding, an issue that came to light nationally in 2007. The flooding in Hull in 2007 became part of a nationally important event which drove change in policy and resulted in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. This thesis uses evidence from 31 in-depth interviews, participant observation and policy analysis to explore the theory that rapid policy change can occur in the windows of opportunity which open up as a result of a shock to the system. For example, changes made to flood governance and policy when a nationally important flood crisis occurs. Specifically, this thesis uses the 2007 flood event to re-examine the theory of policy windows in driving changes in flood governance in England and Wales. Furthermore, where previous studies have focussed on national level policy change and policy windows, this study explores the applicability of the theory to the local level, looking at the case study of the city of Hull between 1945 and 2010.