The UK is predicted to continue experiencing serious flooding with increasing frequency and magnitude. It is more essential than ever that we have the capability to deliver an effective emergency response during these events and rapid recovery afterwards.
The scale of flood events is growing. In December 2013 the UK suffered the effects of the largest storm surge for a generation.
Flooding is a national problem that requires a national response. 7% of the UK is at risk from fluvial flooding and 1.5% from coastal flooding.
The impact of flooding on human lives can be catastrophic. In the UK, approximately 2.8 million homes occupied by 6.7 million people are at risk of flooding.
The risk of flooding from sea is growing. Predictions show sea levels rising by 0.35 metres by 2060 and 1 metre by 2110.
Flooding has an economic impact. It has been estimated that the cost of flooding and managing flood risk in the UK could rise to £2.2bn a year.
What will Ark do?
Improve coordination and training
Improve the coordination and training of first responders, promote inter-agency understanding and cooperation, and inform and empower the regional business and residential communities. For the first time, the agencies involved in flood rescue will no longer have to rely on existing recreational training facilities to train;
Enable world-leading research
Enable world-leading research on urban hydrological processes, channel-floodplain interactions, and fluid-structure interactions in both waves and currents, as well as physical and psychological monitoring of rescue personnel engaged in training activities; and
Create a business innovation hub
Create an innovation hub and nucleation point that will encourage regional businesses to develop novel sensor technologies, clothing solutions, water treatment techniques, flood barrier technologies, and smart building technologies to improve the management of and resilience against flooding.
Ark is a partnership between the University of Hull and Humberside Fire and Rescue Service. Together they combine cutting-edge research, innovation and training capabilities with practical expertise in the delivery of catastrophic flood management response.
University of Hull
The University of Hull has a well-established record of research and innovation in flood prediction, management and resilience, led by the world-class multi-disciplinary work of its Energy and Environment Institute. By building on its strong links with industry, business, government and the local community, the University’s vision is to establish Ark not only as a national centre for research, innovation and teaching, but as a world-leader in its field.
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service
With its extensive, front-line experience of managing catastrophic flooding events, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service understands just how vital it is to train and test its front-line staff and those of other agencies. Through the purpose-built facilities of Ark, it aims to create a training environment capable of mounting much more realistic urban flooding scenarios so that the preparations of all agencies for dealing with future events can be improved and better coordinated by being put to rigorous test.
Steve Topham Director of Service Support, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service
We know from experience just how essential it is to provide an effective emergency flood response. Ark will give Fire and Rescue Services and all the other responding agencies a facility where we can prepare in a much more realistic way, and access to a wealth of research and innovation power.
Professor Dan Parsons Director of the Energy and Environment Institute, University of Hull
The realistic flood environment at Ark will lead to a step-change in our flood resilience capabilities and establish the centre as the go-to place for research, innovation, teaching and training. It will provide another way for the University to apply its expertise in service of the local community and the UK as a whole.