Flooding: The Future?

High Water Common Ground is a thought-provoking, unreleased 70 minute ‘documentary-meets-toolkit’ about natural flood management, made by Andrew Clark of Top of The Tree Productions. (See below for a synopsis)

UBoC organised a screening with Leeds Beckett Landscape Architecture and Arup at the Rose Bowl on 21st of March, which was followed by a lively discussion on the future of natural capital in Yorkshire, where a changing climate, air pollution and developments such as Leeds FAS2, HS2, South Bank, the Clean Air Zone and the Northern Forest all present major challenges and opportunities.

The panel was; Simon Jepps – Leeds FAS2 Flood Modeller at Thomas Mackay Ltd, Rosa Foster – Environment Agency Flood Team, Dr Alex Nicholson – Natural Flood Management Specialist at Arup (who appears in the film), Professor Alan Simson (Leeds Beckett) – Landscape Architect, Urban Forester and Chair of The White Rose Forest, and UBoC’s Professor Piers Forster (University of Leeds) – Priestley International Centre for Climate.

The event was hosted by UBoC PhD Felicity Monger and the discussion moderated by Paige Garside from the Arup flood team, with an audience involving much expert opinion to be shared.

The event was officially supported by Leeds Becket Landscape Architecture Department, Arup, Thomas Mackay Ltd, United Bank of Carbon, Leeds Climate Commission, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and The Priestley International Centre for Climate.



Extreme flooding events in recent years have devastated countless communities throughout the UK, and it is only a matter of time before such destructive waters are seen again. Beyond the immediate, obvious loss of livelihood and business, the impacts of these floods have permeated much deeper, affecting communities both physically and psychologically, and affecting the relationships between the people most affected and those charged with alleviating the damage.

But from amidst this chaos, communities have pulled together more strongly than ever, and opportunity has emerged to find new and innovative solutions to the threat of flooding. These are solutions that have the potential to satisfy every stakeholder, and benefit land and water on every level. Such ‘natural’ flood risk management techniques are in no way a universal or absolute solution, but their potential for significant contribution to flood pressure alleviation is widely accepted.

In a documentary-meets-toolkit, High Water Common Ground meets the communities most affected by flooding, examines the needs of the parties involved, and explores some of the most innovative methods of flood risk management using real examples from around the country.