Achieving Urban Flood Resilience in an Uncertain Future
University of Nottingham

Newcastle Learning and Action Alliance (LAA)

Newcastle was one of two case studies which served to test and showcase the outcomes of the urban flood resilience research project. 

The Newcastle LAA was established in 2014 by the  Blue-Green Cities Research Project, who worked in partnership with stakeholders in Newcastle to develop a  Blue-Green vision that includes flood risk and surface water management plus the delivery of multiple diverse ecological, socio-cultural and economic benefits.

See  Emily O'Donnell's webinar on the Newcastle LAA (YouTube). 



In the urban environment, a Blue-Green City creates multifunctional land use through surface water management and greening schemes.

Surface water is managed in part by natural processes, including interception, attenuation, evapotranspiration, infiltration and storage. This creates resilience to flood risk and climate change, while making significant positive contributions to other areas life, including health and wellbeing, wildlife and biodiversity, urban cooling, economic activity and development.

The Vision is for Newcastle to become a city that follows the principles of a Blue-Green City by maximising the opportunities to achieve multiple benefits of Blue-Green approaches to surface water management.

By forming a Learning and Action Alliance (LAA), our overarching goal was to promote this vision and to realise it by recognising, and utilising, windows of opportunity for potentially influencing the strategies of decision makers.  


Meetings (2016 - 2019)

15 Dec 2016

Re-launch of the Newcastle LAA, including an overview of the Urban Flood Resilience project and various presentations from members of the research team.

1 Mar 2017

A discussion of plans for 2016-2019, followed by a stakeholder mapping exercise to ensure representation from the full range of stakeholders.

7 Jun 2017

A series of presentations by members of the research team, followed by a workshop exercise identifying existing, planning and visionary blue-green infrastructure in Newcastle.

21 Jul 2017

Flood resilience in redevelopments (with a focus on Castle Leazes)

  • Led by Clare Rogers and Iain Garfield (Newcastle University Estates)
  • Site visit of Castle Leazes student accommodation
  • Discussion about potential redevelopment of site and associated water management
11 Oct 2017

Opportunities and challenges for Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS)

  • Walking tour of Science Central SUDS by Ross Stirling (Newcastle University)
  • Q&A session on SUDS
  • Focus group discussion on the opportunities and challenges of retrofit and new-build SUDS in Newcastle (including their maintenance and monitoring)
8 Jan 2018

East Pilgrim Street Redevelopment Proposals

  • Led by Darren Varley (Newcastle City Council)
  • Presentation and questions on the East Pilgrim Street Redevelopment Proposals, that were seeking EU funding for climate change adaptation, that could include a range of blue-green features
  • World café style workshop to generate ideas around three key areas: a) considerations for developing a blue-green strategy; b) attracting investment in blue-green infrastructure; and c) short and long-term objectives
  • Outcomes were shared with Newcastle City Council
14 Mar 2018

Catchments and Partners

  • A joint LAA and Naturvation event hosted by the Environment Agency
  • Led by Robert Carr (Environment Agency)
  • Range of presentations in the morning session including overviews of the Urban Flood Resilience and Naturvation projects, as well as a presentation on Catchment Based Solutions
  • Keynote talk on the Government's 25-year Plan from Oliver Harmar (EA Area Director)
  • Afternoon marketplace with around 30 infromation stalls, from flood risk, marine/estuarine environment, river restoration, sustainable urban drainage, developers/planners, and many more. This session is open to the public from 1330 - 1530 at the Great North (Hancock) Museum, Newcastle.
22 June 2018

Drainage and wastewater management

  • Led by Steena Nasapen-Watson (Northumbrian Water Group)
  • Introduction to the Northumbrian Water Rainwise Project (surface water management programme that utilises partnership and community working to manage the amount of surface water entering the sewer network)
  • Workshop session gathering thoughts on current barriers, opportunities and examples of best practice
  • Demonstration of the CityCAT model by Newcastle Univeristy academics (urbanisation, green space and runoff, modelling blue-green and grey interventions).
27 September 2018

Newcastle Blue-Green infrastructure stocktake

  • Led by Emily O'Donnell (University of Nottingham) and hosted at Newcastle University
  • Update from past meeting Chairs on the East Pilgrim Street Redevelopment Proposals, catchment-based approaches and partnerships, and Drainage and Waste Water Management Plans
  • Stocktake of the Blue-Green infrastructure schemes in Newcastle and the wider NE, updating the status of schemes previous identified as planned and visionary
  • Discussion of plans for a 2019 dissemination event and showcase of achievements since organisations signed the Newcastle Blue and Green Declaration in 2016
  • Introduction to the Interoperability research led by the University of Leeds ( WP3) and outline plans for a focus group
20 December 2018

Interoperability workshop

  • Led by Emily O'Donnell (University of Nottingham) and hosted at Newcastle University
  • Interoperability workshop with Kim Vercruysse and David Dawson (University of Leeds, WP3) examining the datasets used in their interoperability tool. Discussed limitations of the data, other useful datasets, data that represents barriers to interoperable flood risk management
  • Discussion of the March 2019 dissemination event that will showcase progress with implementation of Blue-Green infrastructure by signatories of the 2016 Newcastle Declaration on Blue and Green infrastructure (and new signatory organisations)
10 May 2019

SuDS implementation through planning

  • Led by Emily O'Donnell (University of Nottingham) and hosted at Newcastle University
  • Presentation and workshop activity assessing the implementation of SuDS through the planning system in England by Tudor Vilcan (The Open University, WP5). Mapping chains of causation which would enable solutions to be successfully implemented. 
  • Update on Blue-Green infrastructure progress since the Blue-Green Path to Urban Flood Resilience dissemination event and launch of the 2019 Newcastle Declaration on Blue and Green Infrastructure (7th March 2019). 

Urban Flood Resilience Research Project

Sir Clive Granger Building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 846 8137