CEP at the XV International Congress of Environmental Psychology 2019


Dr Clare Twigger-Ross is giving a keynote talk on Tuesday 16th July at the XV Congreso de Psicologia Ambiental-PSCIAMB: Community, resources and sustainability: the challenge of territories. She will be presenting her paper Building resilience capacities of communities to flood risk: reflections on theory and practice in the UK. The paper draws on research that CEP and associates have carried out for Defra and the Environment Agency over the past decade.  

The conference is being held at the University of la Laguna, Tenerife from 16th – 19th July 2019.

For more information please contact Dr Clare Twigger-Ross (Technical Director).

Building resilience capacities of communities to flood risk: reflections on theory and practice in the UK


Climate change will increase the frequency, severity and extent of flooding in the UK with the present 1.8 million people living in areas at significant flood risk predicted to rise to 2.6 million under a 2° scenario and to 3.3 million under a 4° scenario (CCRA, 2017)The health and social impacts of floods have been documented over a number of years (e.g. Walker et al, 2005; Tapsell and Tunstall, 2008) with recent robust studies on the effects on mental health (e.g. Public Health England, 2017;Miljevic et al, 2017) showing the impact to be quite considerable.   Given these negative social impacts it becomes even more important to understand how communities and individuals alongside local professionals (e.g. local authorities, emergency services) might be able to improve or develop greater community resilience. Dr Twigger-Ross together with her colleagues at Collingwood Environmental Planning has been working on projects for the UK government and its agencies since 2005 on aspects of flooding and this paper draws on that work within the framework of community resilience.   Community resilience is a way of thinking about resilience to flooding at a local and place based level, understanding that there will be multiple communities and social networks intersecting in a given flood risk area.  In this paper Cutter et al’s (2010) disaster resilience of place is drawn on to locate  community resilience which is defined as a “set of capacities that can be fostered through interventions and policies, which in turn help  build and enhance a community’s ability to respond, recover  from [and adapt] to disasters”(Cutter et al, 2010).   The capacities examined by Twigger-Ross et al, (2015) are institutional resilience capacities, social resilience capacities, community capital, infrastructure resilience capacities and economic resilience capacities and they will be elaborated on within this paper.  Importantly, in order to meet the challenges of climate change the type of resilience will need to focus on the proactive/transformative type of resilience rather than the reactive/defensive type of resilience.   A number of active interventions have been developed in the UK by to improve levels of resilience capacity, through government and charity funding, together with grassroots interventions emergent after a flood and the factors for their success or otherwise will be discussed in relation to the community resilience framework. Further, it is recognised that the concept of resilience is both complex and contested, not just the opposite of vulnerability and the paper will comment on that, specifically in the context of its use by UK government and its agencies.  Finally, the role and impact of “contract” research and the position of researchers within that will be examined through the paper.

CEP presenting CECAN fellowship work

CEP presenting work on Flood Community Resilience Pathfinder evaluation at Defra Theme Advisory Groups meeting

Dr Clare Twigger-Ross will be giving a brief presentation on her CECAN fellowship work looking at Qualitative Comparative Analysis in relation to the Flood Community Resilience Pathfinder evaluation at the Defra/Environment Agency R&D Theme Advisory Groups meeting in Birmingham on 26th April.

CEP contribute to international Biodiversity Offsetting Book

CEP authors of United Kingdom chapter on biodiversity offsetting

A new international book on Biodiversity Offsetting “Biodiversity Offsets: European Perspectives on No Net Loss of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” edited by Wolfgang Wende,  Graham  M. Tucker, Fabien Quétier, Matt Rayment and Marianne Darbi has recently been published (March 2018) by Springer, which brings together the work of more than 30 international authors. 

The Chapter “United Kingdom” by Jonathan Baker, Liza Papadopoulou and William Sheate pulls together the current state of the art of biodiversity offsetting in the UK, including across the devolved administrations.  It builds on research undertaken by CEP evaluating the biodiversity offsetting pilot scheme in England in 2012-2014.

For further information please contact Dr Bill Sheate, Technical Director.

CEP at FloodRISK Conference 2016

Photo credit: Flooded River Severn by muffinn on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

CEP at European Conference on Flood Risk Management

CEP has contributed two papers to FloodRisk 2016, the 3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management, which will be shown in Lyon on 19 and 20 October.  The papers are co-authored by Clare Twigger-Ross, Paula Orr, Katya Brooks and Rolands Sadauskis and draw on evidence from CEP’s evaluation of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Flood resilience Community Pathfinders (2013-15).

Dr Clare Twigger-Ross’s presentation on ‘Citizen Involvement in Flood Risk Government: Flood groups and networks’ will be shown on Wednesday 19 October, as part of the session on Disaster Management and Recovery.  A presentation by Paula Orr entitled ‘Pieces of kit are not enough: Flood infrastructure and community resilience’ will be shown on Thursday 20 October, in the session on Vulnerability and Societal Resilience.

After the conference, the presentations will be available on CEP’s website.

CECAN official launch event and workshop

Photo credit:'knot' by Lindsey Turner on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

CECAN official launch event and 2-day Complexity in Evaluation Workshop

The 'Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus' (CECAN), a £3 million research centre hosted by the University of Surrey, is being officially launched at the CECAN Event: Policy Evaluation for A Complex World, taking place on 13th September in London. A panel discussion will encourage debate on the Nexus policy areas at the heart of the Centre's work, and raise critical questions around complexity, evaluation methodologies, and 'what works in practice'. CEP will attend as part of CECAN's coalition of experts and leading UK bodies who will be developing new ways to measure the effectiveness of domestic policies across the energy, environment, water and food Nexus.

Following the launch event, on the 15th & 16th September, a 2 Day Residential 'Complexity in Evaluation' Workshop will take place in Surrey. The workshop will combine participatory design and collaborative problem solving with information and ideas exchange between CECAN and partners. Dr Clare Twigger-Ross and Dr Bill Sheate from CEP will be attending the workshop.

For more information and to sign up to the events please see CECAN's event webpage.

CEP at CECAN workshop on understanding complexity

CEP at CECAN workshop on understanding complexity

CEP's Dr Clare Twigger-Ross and Dr Bill Sheate will participate in a 1 day workshop on 9th June hosted by the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN) to tackle the question of 'What is complexity?'.

 Discussions will include:

  • What are our different understandings of complexity?
  • Examples of complexity in policy evaluation and design, and Nexus systems
  • What factors in policy processes and Nexus systems make complexity difficult to handle?
  • Sharing innovative ideas and approaches
  • What tools can we bring/matching of tools to complex problems
  • As a policy maker, how do I know I am dealing with a complex problem?

The workshop will focus on some of the real-world policy case studies put forward by CECAN's co-funders and provide an opportunity to plan a wider public 2 day residential workshop in September 2016.

The event is by invitation only.

Clare Twigger-Ross at Defra's Flood Risk Advisory Group

Image by Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

CEP's Dr Clare Twigger-Ross at Defra's Coastal Erosion Risk Management R&D Theme Advisory Group

CEP's Dr Clare Twigger-Ross is attending the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management R&D Theme Advisory Group organised by Defra. Clare is a member of the Policy, Strategy and Investment Theme Advisory Group. The Advisory Group's meeting is to discuss the research programme in this area for the coming year and to hear about projects that have completed in this area. It is taking place on 16 March at Birmingham.

CEP's Dr Clare Twigger-Ross at Evaluation of Complexity Workshop

Image: 'Maze' by Christina Gallivan on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

CEP’s Dr Clare Twigger-Ross at Evaluation of Complexity workshop

CEP is part of the  consortium of leading UK bodies who have initiated at new national research hub which  will be developing new ways to measure the effectiveness of domestic policies on energy, water, environment and food (the ‘nexus’), and how they affect wider society.

The focus of the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN) will be to pioneer, test and promote evaluation approaches and methods across the energy, environment and food nexus where complexity presents a challenge to policy interventions, and so contribute to more effective policy-making.

Based at the University of Surrey and launching on 1 March 2016 - prior to a launch event in the summer - CECAN has been backed by £2.45 million of funding provided by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) in collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra); the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC); the Environment Agency (EA); and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Dr Clare Twigger-Ross from CEP will be attending the inception workshop this week Thursday 10 – Friday 11th March.

CEP's evaluation of biodiversity offsetting pilots published

Defra publishes CEP's evaluation of the biodiversity offsetting pilot scheme in England

Defra has published the final evaluation report by CEP [1] of the Biodiversity Offsetting Pilot Scheme in England that ran from April 2012 to March 2014.

Dr Bill Sheate, CEP's Project Director for the evaluation said:

We are delighted that Defra has finally published the biodiversity offsetting evaluation report.  We concluded in our evaluation that whilst biodiversity offsetting has the potential to deliver improvements in biodiversity outcomes it will require additional resources and ecological expertise in local authorities to deliver it.  
Where residual biodiversity loss is identified offsetting will increase costs overall for developers compared to current practice. It is likely that it would, at best, deliver only marginal benefits in terms of streamlining the planning process for agreeing compensation for biodiversity loss.

The final report includes supplementary reports on Indicative Costs of Current Compensation Arrangements for Biodiversity Loss: Illustrative Case Studies (Task 4 Report) and A review of recent biodiversity offsetting practice in Germany



[1] CEP, in association with IEEP, was commissioned to evaluate the biodiversity offsetting pilot scheme between July 2012 and June 2014.