Open letter to the Prime Minister on flooding and water management


    The Landscape Institute has joined together with 12 professional organisations, who regularly work together on projects designed to manage water, prevent flooding and increase resilience, to ask for proper long-term planning to avoid further flooding devastation in the UK.

    The group, which includes the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management, The Institution of Environmental Sciences, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Energy Institute, calls for a complete re-think to the way the country manages, stores and distributes its water, and how we plan both the natural environment, and the built environment of our towns and cities to make them more resilient. 

    The letter clearly states that a comprehensive range of water management techniques could have helped prevent the effect of water through villages, towns and over surrounding land seen recently, and it warns against dredging as a universal panacea for the problems as it may increase flooding to towns downstream. 

    It calls for proper exploration of the larger catchment management issues, and how forestry, land management and soft engineered flood alleviation schemes can hold back water in the upper reaches of rivers, and work alongside a dredging programme in the lower reaches. 
    In our town and cities the group advises that the planning of all new developments and regeneration schemes include a wide range of flood alleviation and protection measures.  It wants all new housing in flood plains to be resilient from the moment they are built and for Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs) to be comprehensively retro-fitted, and for SuDs to be a compulsory requirement for all new buildings.

    The group call for an immediate cross departmental conference with DECC, DEFRA, DCLG, the EA and NRW, in a similar manner to that which was convened to address the problem of ash-dieback.

    Speaking about the letter, Sue Illman, President of the Landscape Institute said: “Why do we keep spending money putting homes and lives back together when we could spend it more effectively preventing the problem?  The Landscape Institute has long been campaigning for Water Sensitive Planning – that considers the entire water cycle – for a comprehensive programme of retrofitting SuDS in our towns and cities, and the full implementation of schedule 3 of the Floods and Water Management Act.  We need hard and soft engineering to work together to manage water, protect people and their livelihoods, whilst improving the natural and built environment for all.” 

    The letter was also sent to the Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Anne McIntosh MP and Lord Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency.

    To view the full letter visit


    Sue Illman is available for interview by contacting Sarah Harrison on 07768 372892 or or Paul Lincoln on 07985 740513

    The Landscape Institute is the royal chartered body for landscape architects.  It campaigns to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for public benefit.

    To read more about the Landscape Institute’s position on water management click here

    The full list of signatories includes:

    Sue Illman President, Landscape Institute
    George Adams President, CIBSE
    Heather Barrett-Mold Chair, Institution of Environmental Sciences
    Martin Baxter Executive Director – Policy, IEMA
    Shireen Chambers Chief Executive, Institute of Chartered Foresters
    Adam Donnan Chief Executive Officer, Institution of Environmental Science
    Michael Doran SocEnv RICS Council Representative, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
    John Gregory Institute of Fisheries Management
    Sally Hayns Chief Executive Officer, Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
    Louise Kingham OBE Chief Executive, Energy Institute
    Steve Lee Chief Executive Officer, Chartered Institution of Wastes Management
    Karen Martin Chief Executive, Arboricultural Association
    Dr Peter Spillett President, Institute of Fisheries Management
    Alastair Taylor Chief Executive, Institution of Agricultural Engineers
    Professor William Pope Chairman of the Environmental Policy Forum
    Mike Summersgill President, CIWEM
    Jim Whelan Council Member, Institution of Environmental Science


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