Articles | Volume 12, issue 7
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 2299–2309, 2012

Special issue: Flood resilient communities – managing the consequences...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 2299–2309, 2012

Research article 20 Jul 2012

Research article | 20 Jul 2012

Risk perception – issues for flood management in Europe

R. A. Bradford1, J. J. O'Sullivan1, I. M. van der Craats2, J. Krywkow3, P. Rotko4, J. Aaltonen4, M. Bonaiuto5, S. De Dominicis5, K. Waylen6, and K. Schelfaut2,7 R. A. Bradford et al.
  • 1Centre for Water Resources Research, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
  • 2Antea Group, Poortakkerstraat 41, 9051 Gent, Belgium
  • 3Seeconsult GmbH, Sedanstrasse 61, 49076 Osnabruck, Germany
  • 4Suomen Ymparistokeskus (Finnish Environment Institute), Helsinki, Finland
  • 5Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca in Psicologia Ambientale and Dipartimento di Psicologia dei Processi di Sviluppo e Socializzazione, Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy
  • 6James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB15 8QH, UK
  • 7University of Ghent, Vakgroep Geografie, Krijgslaan 281-S8, 9000 Gent, Belgium

Abstract. Public perception of flood risk and flood risk information is often overlooked when developing flood risk management plans. As scientists and the public at large perceive risk in very different ways, flood risk management strategies are known to have failed in the past due to this disconnect between authorities and the public. This paper uses a novel approach in exploring the role of public perception in developing flood risk communication strategies in Europe. Results are presented of extensive quantitative research of 1375 questionnaire responses from thirteen communities at risk across six European countries. The research forms part of two research projects funded under the 2nd ERA-Net CRUE Funding Initiative: URFlood and FREEMAN. Risk perception is conceptualised as a pillar of social resilience, representing an innovative approach to the issue. From this process recommendations are identified for improving flood risk management plans through public participation.