Ultimately the hypothesis and challenge for policy makers is that hydraulically robust ‘agri’-structures (3m wide water restrictive hedgerows at field boundaries) will perform as modelled and offer a simple and practical reduction of the risk of flood damage to people and property. There is solid evidence that opportunity exists for worthwhile development. Current DEFRA pilots offer a window of opportunity to assess the Multiple Benefits of High Friction attenuation of extreme uninsurable (30RP – 60RP) events.
The broader aim of stimulating attenuation research into hydraulically productive land-use has been shown to be achievable which, in turn, suggests that such floodplain management would be as sustainable as routine cross-compliance, and as economical as routine biomass production.
Pragmatic agricultural research (of multi-function buffer-strips) will need to be developed to match modelled vegetative structures. Furthermore, as WFD drives water quality up, control of water quantity (ie polluted floodwater) will be driven up in tandem.