Cooperation and partnership in flood risk management: a case study of the Internal Drainage Boards in the East of England

Nwankwo, Augustine Ikwueto Ifedi ORCID: 0000-0003-1776-6486 (2022). Cooperation and partnership in flood risk management: a case study of the Internal Drainage Boards in the East of England. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) have existed in various forms in English history for many centuries. Unfortunately, not a lot is known about the progression of the organization, their roles and contributions to the sustainability of flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) in England. Consequently, this research illuminates the roles of the IDBs by exploring the dynamics of their collaborative and partnership projects with other Flood Risk Management Authorities (FRMAs). Aided by the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework, the research engages with the theoretical themes of decentralization, scales of governance, power dynamics, accountability, and sustainability, questioning whether IDBs’ operational and funding models can provide sustainable templates for addressing growing funding shortfalls due to reduced governance intervention in FCERM in England. Utilizing a qualitative methodology, the research focuses on a case study analysis of selected IDB groups in the East of England. The methods of data collection combined semi-structured face-to-face and telephone interviews of IDB groups and members, Environment Agency (EA), Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs), Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA), National Farmers Union (NFU), environmental groups and independent consultants. The research also benefited from documentary analyses of relevant guidance documents produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Environment Agency and National Audit Office. The findings of the research expose some of the weaknesses in the current governance arrangement for the IDBs, particularly given the organization’s growing aspiration for increased roles in flood risk management. It highlights the need for cultural and structural changes within the IDBs as fundamental requirements for increasing internal capacity and maintaining organizational resilience. Reassuringly, the research confirms that the IDBs’ funding model maintains its credibility as a tested form of the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) model, thus presenting a valid alternative for further critical assessment for local and international flood governance authorities. Finally, it validates the progress made by IDBs as evidenced by their increased collaborative partnerships with other organizations, as positive signals of their willingness to adapt in order to maintain their relevance in English FCERM. Overall, the findings of this research are of potential benefits to international flood and water governance institutions.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences


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