The Local Resilience Forum, which is chaired by Leicestershire’s Chief Constable, has been involved in a flood mapping project which has won a Loughborough University Enterprise Award.
Dr Dapeng Yu, from the University’s Geography Department, approached the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Local Resilience Forum (LLR Prepared) in 2014 to discuss how live mapping of flooding could help contingency planners and emergency services.
Cities worldwide are increasingly vulnerable to surface water flooding due to rapid urbanisation, infrastructure developments and more intense rainfall. According to Defra, Leicester City is ranked 16th out of the 4,215 settlements assessed within England in the National Priority Ranking in terms of surface water flooding risks.
LLR Prepared were keen to see how this Loughborough’s research work might help to save livelihoods and help the blue light services respond better during times of flood. After much hard work by the team at Loughborough University, supported by a live time exercise with the emergency services and local partners hosted by Leicester City Council, - ‘FloodMap Live’ emerged.
Drawing on almost 20 years’ research, FloodMap Live delivers high-resolution, real-time flood nowcasts and forecasts as well as property-level impact analytics for emergency responders. The real-time flood and impact forecast support the timely assembly of flood defences and allocation of resources ahead of flood events – protecting the population and critical infrastructure, while mitigating economic and environmental impacts.
At the Loughborough University Enterprise Awards on Tuesday 21 May the project won the ‘Commercial Potential’ category for new innovations arising from excellent research with the potential for far-reaching societal and economic benefit.
Speaking after the award ceremony, the Chair of LLR Prepared, Chief Constable Simon Cole QPM said: “This award winning project started with an exploratory chat about flooding in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland! To see it become such a useful, lifesaving system is amazing. The team at Loughborough University have worked hard to make this work and not been afraid to test it in real exercises with emergency services and partners here first. Applied worldwide, FloodMap Live can save lives and livelihoods.”
Close collaboration with high-profile stakeholders – including the Cabinet Office, Environment Agency and Met Office – has facilitated successful pilots of FloodMap Live in four UK cities, with further trials planned for many more cities nationally and internationally.
Award winner Dr Dapeng Yu from Geography & Environment at Loughborough University said on behalf of the team: “The support of LLR Prepared has been instrumental in the development of FloodMap Live. This close collaboration over many years has given us the opportunity to bridge the gap between academic research and societal needs. We are delighted to be able to help improve the resilience of emergency services in Leicester. We are looking forward to working with LLR Prepared in the years to come.”
Supported by Innovate UK, a spinout company, Previsico, has been established by Loughborough University to accelerate the adoption of the pioneering technology – supporting climate resilience and benefitting vulnerable communities worldwide.
Jonathan Jackson, CEO of Previsico said: “FloodMap Live's success in the UK has led to a great opportunity for scaling up this cutting-edge technology to support emergency responders, asset owners and the citizens globally, saving people's lives and livelihoods.”