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Event Organiser: ICE

Vernon-Harcourt Lecture 2020, London

  • Lecture
  • London
  • 03 February 2020
  • 18:00 - 19:45
Vernon-Harcourt Lecture 2020, London

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Floods – whether inland or at the coast - affect more people globally than any other type of natural hazard, causing some of the largest economic, social and humanitarian losses. Figures from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction show that, on average, 250 million people globally are affected by floods each year. With increasing concern over climate change and rising sea-levels, the need for effective, resilient, and affordable measures to prevent or mitigate floods has never been more important.

The potential of ‘nature based solutions’ to address flooding issues is becoming increasingly recognised not just within the civil engineering profession but amongst other stakeholders including the general public. However, nature-based solutions can also be used for a variety of other purposes. In addition, nature-based solutions can be inherently more difficult to monitor. Consequently, an apparently obvious nature-based solution to non-technical stakeholders may, in reality, have significant drawbacks. Better appreciation of these issues is important for the full potential of these methods to be realised.

Dr Jonathan Simm will provide an overview of key issues related to the use of nature-based resources, with reference to examples from the UK, the USA, and elsewhere, including uses for conservation and environmental purposes as well as for flooding and coastal risk management.


18:00 Registration and welcome refreshments
18:30 Welcome from the Chair, Nick Hardiman
18:35 The future of nature-based solutions for flood and coastal risk management
19:20 Questions and Answers
19:40 Summation from the Chair
19:45 Close of lecture


Chair: Nick Hardiman

Nick Hardiman

Nick Hardiman is Chair of the Maritime and Coastal Panel and a Senior Coastal Advisor at the Environment Agency.

Dr Jonathan Simm

Dr Jonathan Simm

Dr Jonathan Simm is Chief Technical Director for Resilience at research and consultancy organisation HR Wallingford. Jonathan leads research programmes in flood and coastal risk management. He was Technical Lead for the International Levee Handbook and is currently part of the editorial board working on the finalisation of International Guidelines for the use of Natural and Nature-Based Features.

Jonathan chairs national and international committees and visits the US and Europe regularly. His passion is translating research and innovation into policy and practice via writing or editing more than 20 guidance documents over a period of 30 years, many of which have covered more conventional coastal and river engineering (such as use of rock, timber, concrete and waste materials and earthen flood embankments). Jonathan’s work on natural flood management has been a logical extension of his efforts in flood defence asset management and on the reliability of defences.

Event venue

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

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ICE Events Team

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