Event Detail


Reflections on the UK Winter Floods 2013/14: Impacts & Lessons for Flood Control Globally

John Curtin, Director of the British Environment Agency
Thursday, 27 Nov 2014
Complimentary Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
The Bloomberg Theatre, 27/F Cheung Kong Centre, Central
Pre-registration is requested for this event. To reserve seats, please click here or reply to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., stating the names of attendees who wish to book; there is no need to pay for your tickets in advance.

The Royal Geographical Society is pleased to welcome John Curtin to lecture on "Reflections on the UK Winter Floods 2013/14: Impacts & Lessons for Flood Control Globally".  In this lecture, John Curtin describes how the period from December 2013 - February 2014 saw some of the most severe, prolonged and high profile flooding of recent times in England.  A combination of extreme weather and tidal surges challenged both the forecasting and response capabilities of the British Environment Agency and other services, as well as the physical infrastructure and design capabilities of many of the country’s flood defences.

In this lecture, Mr Curtin presents a review of the flooding, looking at what happened during this period and how it differed from previous events.  He also discusses the internal and external challenges the winter floods provided in terms of response and recovery coordination, and the strategic lessons identified by the Environment Agency’s floods review.  He reviews how these are being progressed to improve resilience to future events and discusses the global lessons of these events.

Mr Curtin also gives an overview of the damage to infrastructure and the progress on repairs.  He also wonders if this was the first “social media” flood.  He concludes with a discussion of the question ‘has better forecasting led to a better response’, a key question for the world during an era of rapid climate change globally.

John Curtin read Hydrology at Lancaster University.  He has been Director of the British Environment Agency responsible for Incident Management & Resilience since June 2012.  He is responsible for developing the organisation’s ability to respond to floods and environmental incidents.  Mr Curtin’s previous roles at the Environment Agency include Regional Flood Executive & Head of Water Resources Regulation.  He has been a commissioner of the United Kingdom’s Meteorological Office and of the Forestry Commission.  During major incidents, Mr Curtin’s role is national coordination of response through the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) at Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s crisis response committee to coordinate the response of the United Kingdom to instances of national or international crisis.  

  Members of the RGS and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for Members and HK$200 for guests and others.  

The Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong wishes to express its thanks to Bloomberg for its generous assistance with this lecture


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