Headlines: February 20th, 2004

Local authorities will benefit from a new device designed to raise awareness of the risks and effects of flooding around the UK. FloodRanger, a flood simulator, has been launched by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King. It puts ‘players’ in control of a fictional area of Britain’s coastline over a 100-year period.It is expected to become a useful tool for local councils, the Environment Agency and other government departments as well as being used in universities to educate and inform all those involved with flood planning and management. The simulator is designed so that those using it have to defend cities, towns and the countryside in a virtual terrain while still maintaining levels of housing and jobs for a growing population.

The initial software is generic but it is hoped that future versions can be tailored to particular environments. FloodRanger has been developed from the DTI’s Foresight project on flood and coastal defences. Chris Walker from East Sussex County Council says it will not only help those engaged on infrastructure planning and environmental management to understand the complex implications of climate change on river catchments and coastal management, but could also provide a useful tool in education.

Launching the software Sir David said that flooding could have a devastating effect on people’s homes and businesses. There were around 200 billion pounds worth of assets and 1.7 million households in flood risk areas in England and Wales.

The Environment Agency’s Regional Climate Change Project Manager Tim Reeder
said FloodRanger would bring home to a wider audience the implications of making long- term decisions on flood risk management given the uncertainties climate change would bring.

Further information about the developers of FloodRanger can be found at www.discoverysoftware.co.uk