4.1. Flood Risk Governance in the UK
The UK has a long history in flood events, mainly with respect to rivers bursting their banks, as well as local water nuisance due to unsustainable drainage systems. The UK has a risk-based approach with a recognition that floods cannot be fully prevented [31
]. In this context, citizens and property owners are considered to have a fundamental role. For example, the UK’s private flood risk insurance system appeals to individuals being aware of their flood risk and taking action to protect their property [32
]. The summer floods of 2007 proved to be a determining event. Between May and July, the highest rainfall intensity was recorded since records started in 1766 [34
]. About 55,000 properties were inundated along the major rivers Severn, Don, and Thames. The total damage amounted to £4 billion [35
A review led by Sir Michael Pitt [29
] identified that a lack of clarity over which organisations were responsible for surface water flooding and emergency action led to contrasting and uncoordinated messages. Moreover, flood impact data was found to be fragmented and replicated. Consequently, the Pitt review called for a permanent centralised coordinating body. As a result, the Government’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) took coordinated action [36
]. First, the Environment Agency (EA), responsible for the main rivers, coasts and reservoirs, got more authority to maintain a strategic overview [37
]. Second, Regional Flood and Coastal Committees (RFCCs) were established. At the regional level, the EA is required to consult RFCC and get approval for implementing and expending revenues raised [38
]. Third, more power was directed to local authorities through the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA). The LLFAs are obliged to develop, maintain, apply, and monitor a strategy for local flood risk management of surface runoff, groundwater, and ordinary watercourses within its area [37
]. The LLFA is required to register flood risk assets, investigate flood incidents, and promote Sustainable Drainage systems (SuDS) through close cooperation with the highway authority, local risk management authorities, the regional Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs), and through public consultation. The sewer system is management by private companies who fund their operations through water bills under the supervision of Ofwat, the economic regulator for water, and sewerage services in England and Wales.
Milton Keynes is a designed city and national frontrunner in sustainability and innovation. Of the 261,800 inhabitants, 1753 properties in the older, lower areas have a high flood risk [39
]. The citizens, who have recently experienced water nuisance, apply mitigation measures, such as walls and airbricks, to protect their property (indicator 1.3 behavioural internalisation). However, most citizens have little knowledge or commitment with flood risk challenges (indicators 1.1 community knowledge and 1.2 local sense of urgency; [39
]) and are not willing to pay more than they already do (indicator 8.2 consumer willingness to pay). Flood risk information is provided transparently through real-time warning systems that monitors river and sea levels: https://www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk
. The EA flood risk maps are complemented with detailed assessments from the local authorities providing accurate information about current and future flood risks (indicator 2.1 information availability). Moreover, local flood risk prediction maps are available for periods of five days and further ahead, and a free flood warning service for house owners and businesses is available: https://www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings
(indicator 2.2 information transparency).
Milton Keynes’ City Council has a coordinative task as LLFA. In their local flood risk management strategy [39
], the suggested agreements and goals are realistic and moderately ambitious, taking into account funding limitations. Each objective is translated into three measures, each with intermittent targets that have clear deadlines (indicator 5.1 ambitious and realistic management; [38
]). All stakeholders are free to engage in projects and have the opportunity to express their concerns and provide feedback on draft plans through workshops and on paper (indicator 4.1 stakeholder inclusiveness). Different departments within the City Council, are responsible for narrowly defined flood-related tasks, each with different drivers and budget allocations. For example, interests for spatial development can contest flood risk management goals. The division of responsibilities (indicator 7.2) with respect to SuDS is somewhat complex. Highways departments are tasked with ensuring good traffic flow through, amongst others, SuDS. Other actors outside City Council also have an important role. Anglian water is tasked with the sewer system. Parks Trust is a charity who takes care of Milton Keynes parks and green spaces and the Bedford Group of IDBs manages the regional drainage system. The jurisdiction of the IDB is inconsistent with the river catchment area, leading to difficulties in both upstream and downstream coordination. Despite many efforts, the fragmented organisational structure leads to limited knowledge cohesion (indicator 2.3) and suboptimal management cohesion (indicator 5.3).
Due to recent devolution of political power and cuts in national funding [40
], local authorities have to find new funding sources, such as local investors. The City Council reviews the funding opportunities every six months. However, this system may reduce financial security for long-term more proactive measures (indicator 8.3 financial continuation). Likewise, the window of opportunity for entrepreneurial agents (indicator 6.1) to innovate, is also financially limited. Hence, the national imposed institutional setting and financial constraints are considered to be important contextual factors that impact the local governance capacity.
Leicester is situated in the wide flat River Soar valley and it is particularly vulnerable to heavy downpours and prolonged periods of rain. From the East and West hills, a number of large watercourses flow quickly towards the River Soar through urban areas. Major developments projects are expected upstream, which could increase the surface water runoff and flood vulnerability. It is estimated that about 1915 residential and commercial properties are at risk of a 1 in 75 years flood [41
]. Leicester, therefore, recognises the importance that residents understand the causes, risk and impact of their properties being flooded, how to respond to emergencies, and how they can be involved in local decision-making. This is also reflected in the high availability, transparency, and cohesion of flood risk information (condition 2 useful knowledge; [42
In general, differences in culture and language form barriers for people’s awareness, preparedness, and their ability to recover from flood events [43
]. As one of the most culturally diverse cities in the UK, Leicester allocates much resources to effectively communicate with multicultural communities. For example, flood risk information is translated in multiple languages. It also poses extra challenges to include citizens in the stakeholder engagement process (condition 4). Consultation procedures are clear, adhere to national requirements, and all relevant stakeholders and responsible risk authorities are involved. For example, everyone could provide feedback on the draft local flood risk management strategy through consultation meetings and online platforms. However, citizen involvement heavily depends on a select group of well-informed, non-transient, and often highly educated citizens. Stakeholders can also raise issues themselves in council or ward meetings. However, the level of influence that stakeholders have on the end-result is somewhat limited. Engagement is mainly via consultation and not that frequently through focus groups that co-produce knowledge to explore optimal solutions. Leicester is open for this type of stakeholder engagement, but is also restricted by financial resources.
As a result of diminished national funding, Leicester needs to fund flood-defence projects through their own resources, partnership funding, or local developers. However, these funding mechanisms may limit the long-term financial security necessary to pro-actively adapt to challenges of climate change and land-use change. Consequently, the role of local individuals that provide a long-term vision, promote initiatives, bring actors together, and mobilize the required local resources, has become critical (indicator 6.1 entrepreneurial agents). The room to manoeuvre (indicator 7.1) that these agents of change need to effectively seize opportunities for new projects and innovations is somewhat limited. The division of responsibilities, interests, and tasks are divided over many actors (indicator 7.2 clear division of responsibilities) and they pose constraints for the coordination of different policies (indicator 5.3 management cohesion). The EA is responsible for the main river Soar while Leicester City Council (LCC) is the LLFA and is responsible for flood risk and spatial planning. The Leicestershire county and district councils carry out flood risk management works on minor watercourses surrounding the municipality. The water and sewerage company Severn Trent has the duty to maintain the sewer system and drain their area. Successful attempts have been made to integrate the development of green space with flood risk management [44
]. However, the flood risk goals are much less synergetic with respect to national targets for housing development that the LCC has to comply with. In terms of contextual factors, the city’s vulnerability to heavy downpours and prolonged periods of rain requires a high level of citizen awareness to adapt, anticipate, and cope with ‘unavoidable’ flood events. Moreover, limited national and local flood management authority leads to uncertainties with respect to local financial resources.
4.2. Flood Risk Governance in the Netherlands
About 55% of the Netherlands is flood prone and about 25% lies below sea level, including the country’s main economic district and largest cities. In 1953, the levees in the south-eastern delta region were unable to withstand a major storm surge. In total, 1836 people died, over 2000 square kilometres of land was flooded, and the damage was estimated at €5.2 billion [45
]. In response to this disaster, the national Delta Plan was initiated which included the embankment of the estuaries in the south-eastern areas. The Delta works were designed to prevent such a large-scale disaster to ever happening again. The Delta Plan has a strong emphasis on engineering flood defence structures and it is controlled by the national authority ‘Rijkswaterstaat’. The Dutch government fully compensates flood damages. However, a number of river flood incidences in the 1990s changed this dominant discourse. In 1993, the river Meuse burst through its banks and flooded one-fifth of the southern province of Limburg. Moreover, the risk of river flooding led to the largest post-war evacuation of about 80,000 people in 1995. As a consequence, the ‘Room for the Rivers’ policy was developed, which emphasized the role of spatial planning in dealing with climate change induced extreme weather events. Accordingly, the focus shifted from reducing flood probabilities to reducing flood impacts [46
The national government’s Delta Commission formulates the strategic goals and provides a financial structure for flood defence and freshwater provision within the Delta Programme. The provinces are responsible for the regional operationalization of these national strategies and to manage groundwater bodies. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is responsible for protection against the sea, main rivers, and canals. The water boards manage the regional water systems. The water boards raise their own public taxes to recover their costs and have their own elected representatives. Finally, the municipalities have a duty of care regarding the sewer system, rainwater, and groundwater, which is financed through a specific tax. Due to significant damages of recent storm events and new more extreme climate predictions, the Delta Programme [30
] announced extra investments for urban areas. Municipalities are required to perform a ‘water stress test’ in order to map their long-term resilience and to identify the required action with respect to flooding, drought, and heat stress [30
Rotterdam is home to 638,000 people and has Europe’s biggest port. The city has large flood risk challenges as it is situated below sea level in the delta of the river Rhine and Meuse, and its main canal ‘de Nieuwe Waterweg’ is openly connected to the North Sea. Rotterdam has a long tradition of flood risk management and the city’s water safety is highly dependent on the national dikes and sea barriers (indicator 5.2 discourse embedding). Rotterdam is one of the safest delta cities in the world. The main responsibilities lie with the municipality, the water boards, and the Dutch government through the Delta Programme. Local policies strictly adhere to national flood risk policies and safety standards [47
]. At the local level, the division of responsibility (indicator 7.2) between public and private actors is more determined on a case-by-case fashion. Regular inter-sectorial meetings, in particular, between the city’s three water boards, the municipality, and main businesses in the harbour enable cohesive water management. Nevertheless, inter-sectorial exploration of synergies can be further enhanced (indicator 3.3 cross-stakeholder learning and 5.3 management cohesion). For example, through smarter, more integrated monitoring, and evaluation of the city’s drainage system (indicator 3.1 smart monitoring and 3.2 evaluation).
Overall, long-term goals are ambitious and implemented by intermittent targets that are embedded in various policies (indicator 5.1 ambitious and realistic management; [47
]). Within Rotterdam’s Climate Proof programme, climate change adaptation is considered to be a means for creating employment, social cohesion, and citizen engagement, which enhances economic growth. Delta technology and knowhow are referred to as the blue-green economy and are considered as export products. Investments in a safe and vital infrastructure is expected to attract international investments, ensure long-term growth, and prosperity. There is much room for experimentation. Many small-scale pilots and experiments such as floating houses, farms, hotels and forests are supported by local authorities. Initiatives, such as collective city gardens, nature-based playgrounds, and child friendly neighbourhoods, are combined with climate change adaptation goals and improve the attractiveness and liveability of Rotterdam. Important climate change adaptation projects are realised, such as a water square, which combines water storage with the improvement of the quality of urban public space. Another example is the a large underground parking lot that can also store excess stormwater. In some cases, more unconventional collaboration with the private sector has been established leading to for example the development of tidal parks along the main canals: the ‘Nieuwe Maas’ and the ‘Nieuwe Waterweg’ (indicator 6.2 collaborative agents). Visionary agents (indicator 6.3), who push for long-term, integrated, and climate adaptive flood risk management at the political or strategic level are most active at the national scale. In Rotterdam, entrepreneurial agents (indicator 6.1), who initiate new concepts, innovations, and ideas, are most active.
Whilst Rotterdam is not a rich city according to Dutch standards, the municipal and regional taxes are generally being considered affordable (indicator 8.1 affordability). The High Water Protection Programme, which is a part of the Delta fund, ensures funding for water safety measures. An additional benefit of this financial structure is that the municipality saves time and resources otherwise spend on acquisition (indicator 8.3 financial continuation). In the context of high potential flood impact and substantial future challenges, the city is forced to be proactive. In these efforts, Rotterdam is strongly supported by the authority of national and regional policy and institutions, which is an important contextual factor that provides the necessary financial resources for Rotterdam to be innovative and proactive.
Amsterdam is an old and densely populated city with a complex hydrological setting. The city is protected from the North Sea, the Lek River, lake Marker, and regional water bodies through a complex system of dikes, dams, and sluices. The city is connected to the North Sea via a canal running through the city centre. North and south of the canal, the city is protected by dikes under national authority which ensure high safety standards (flood risk of once in 10,000 years). In some areas, a lower safety standard of once every 1250 years is operational. Amsterdam has applied a flood safety approach. However, recently the national Delta Programme has initiated a ‘Multi-layer Safety’ (MLS) approach, which is being piloted in six voluntary cases, one of them is Amsterdam. MLS consists of three layers [30
Reducing flood probability through flood defence infrastructure
Reducing flood impact through adaptive spatial planning
Reducing flood impact by preparing flood response strategies
A thorough scanning according to the MLS revealed that suboptimal spatial planning, in particular, with respect to vital infrastructure, largely increases the potential flood impact. In particular, the harbour area Westpoort is vulnerable. The Westpoort area is vital for the supply of electricity for a third of the city. Furthermore, flooding of its wastewater treatment plants, data centres and the chemical industry would lead to large scale damage. Despite a long-term preparedness to anticipate flood risks, the flood response strategy was found to be insufficiently equipped (indicator 9.3 preparedness; [49
]). Cost-efficiency of spatial adaptation is low due to the low flood probability. However, the city is pioneering with a strategy that combines flood adaptation with projected infrastructure refurbishments and with measures to reduce heat stress, air pollution, or water nuisance. For example, soil remediation can be combined with measures to increase the ground-level. This integral cost-efficient approach can slowly reduce the flood impact over the next decades. However, the implementation of this strategy is hampered by limited awareness and knowledge of flood risks beyond the water authorities (indicator 1.1 community knowledge; [49
]). Amsterdam is served by one municipally owned utility for water, called ‘Waternet’. Waternet manages the entire urban water cycle, including drinking water, water safety, surface water and wastewater transport, and treatment (indicator 7.2 clear division of responsibilities). This integrated approach and close ties with the municipality and regional water board is unique and it provides sufficient authority (indicator 7.3 authority) and room to manoeuvre (indicator 7.1 room to manoeuvre) for individual agents to coordinate the long-term implementation of cost-efficient synergies (condition 7).
By 2040, the city expects an additional 70,000 houses within its borders, resulting in further densification of sealed areas, such as roofs, streets, and parking spaces. A climate-induced increase in the frequency and intensity of storm events will further increase the city’s vulnerability for water nuisance. The Amsterdam Rainproof programme was created to make Amsterdam resistant to the increasingly common downpours. Adaptive measures, such as constructing green roofs, urban gardening, and the use of rainwater for toilet flushing are being mainstreamed into urban planning. However, it is challenging to do this in a city with limited awareness. Hence, there is not yet a fully shared ambition, rather low commitment, and a lack of an inter-sectorial policy and coordination. More understandable and cohesive knowledge provision (indicator 2.2 information transparency and 2.3 knowledge cohesion) may facilitate a better integration between urban planning, climate adaptation, and flood impact reduction objectives. The new national imposed obligation to perform a water stress test may provide an opportunity for improvement [50
]. The national imposed institutional setting leads to a clear division of responsibility but it also limits the involvement of citizens and stakeholders beyond the water management authorities. Moreover, a strong focus on reducing flood probability complicates local efforts to reduce the impact of potential flooding.
4.3. Crosscutting Contextual Factors for Cities
Reflecting on the indicator scores within the four case studies (Table 2
), we can identify a few key differences (Table 3
). The root cause of these differences may be explained by crosscutting contextual factors. Moreover, the relative importance of some indicators differed between cities in the two case-studies in the UK and the Netherlands. In particular, indicators 1.2 local sense of urgency, conditions 2 useful knowledge, condition 4 stakeholder engagement process, and indicator 6.1 entrepreneurial agents, were found to be relatively important within the context of the UK. Whereas, condition 1 awareness, indicator 8.2 consumer willingness to pay, and indictor 9.3 preparedness, may require most attention in the Dutch context. The observed differences in relative importance, and key differences in indicator scoring, were examined in more detail through in-depth interviews, document analyses, and a multi-level policy analyses. The aim of this explorative exercise was to find crosscutting contextual factors that can explain these differences. As a result of this explorative exercise, we have identified three crosscutting contextual factors: (1) flood probability and impact; (2) national imposed institutional setting; and, (3) level of authority to secure long-term financial support.
Flood probability and impact
The hydro-physical setting largely determines the probability and impact of flood events and pre-selects the viable solutions. The Netherlands faces flood challenges that are characterised by a low probability but high impacts and a short warning time [51
]. As a consequence, high safety standards are required that are accomplished through structural flood prevention measures. Improving flood defences in vulnerable reclaimed areas—the ‘Polders’—increases feelings of safety that stimulate investments and further economic development in these areas. It becomes a logical choice to invest in flood defence of increasingly valuable social and economic assets. Due to the large investments that have already been made, each additional investment receives an increasing return creating a path-dependency. This self-reinforcing phenomenon has also been described as the ‘levee effect’ [52
]. On the contrary, in the UK most flood risks tend to have a relatively lower impact but higher probability and it is possible to predict and prepare for floods well in advance. In this hydro-physical setting, not all floods can be prevented.
These diverging processes that are related to flood probability and impact have important repercussions for the role and responsibility of individuals, their expectations and trust that they have in water management authorities [53
]. In the Netherlands, the government monopoly on flood safety has greatly reduced the involvement of citizens and the private sector. Moreover, the government has compensated damages that are caused by major floods, while flood insurances do not exist. Consequently, most people are rather disconnected from flood challenges and take their safety for granted. Measures to reduce the flood impact (indicator 9.3 preparedness) are typically not cost-efficient and are difficult to implement due to limited awareness beyond the water sector. On the contrary, the UK does not apply a minimum safety standard. A cost-benefit analysis fully determines the optimal protection at the local scale. Individuals can therefore be exposed to a great variety of flood probability and impact.
The UK’s private flood risk insurance system requires individuals to be aware of their own flood probability and impact, and act accordingly by protecting and insuring their property [32
]. In this context, the availability and transparency of local flood risk information for citizens becomes critical (indicator 2.1 information availability and 2.2 information transparency). Accordingly, these indicators score high for both Milton Keynes and Leicester. Citizen awareness also becomes critical, and in fact, an interesting difference was found between the analysed cities in the UK and in the Netherlands. Awareness of local authorities was found to be highest in the Netherlands, whereas citizen awareness was low (indicator 1.1 community knowledge and 1.2 local sense of urgency). In the English cities, this was rather different. Leicester has a higher citizen behavioural internalisation, which can be explained as a necessity given the high flood probabilities. In fact, knowledge, awareness, and behavioural internalisation of citizens can be considered as key indicators in the UK context of considerable food probability and appeal on individual to take their responsibility. The flood probability and impact characteristics largely explains the different management pathways that both countries have taken. Overall, this contextual factor lead to differences in condition 1 awareness, condition 2 useful knowledge, and in particular, to indicator 9.3 preparedness. These elements are particularly relevant for cities in the UK to help citizens to cope with higher flood risks and particularly relevant for Dutch cities to reduce their flood impact in the long run.
National imposed institutional setting
The existing institutional context defines, to a large degree, which actors will be involved, how they act, and which new initiatives emerge. In fact, new initiatives are likely to be discussed in already existing coordination bodies in order to avoid large transaction costs that are involved in setting up new bodies [54
]. The institutional setting in both countries is rather different as a result of the 1953 Dutch catastrophe and the social-political reactions afterwards. The 1953 event has led to a strong discourse of flood safety coordinated by the central government through the Delta Programme. Flood risk is considered as a matter of public safety and national priority. Regional water management is controlled by the water boards. Water boards have separate elections and raise their own tax. In turn, municipalities are responsible for urban drainage, spatial planning, and the sewer system. Urban flood risk management is strongly driven by national legislation and policy leading to cohesive knowledge production (indicator 2.3 knowledge cohesion) and largely integrated management practices (indicator 5.3 management cohesion). The ‘water stress test’, that was mandated by the Delta Programme for all Dutch cities, is a clear illustration of this national coordination. Hence, the institutional setting is characterised by a national monopoly on flood safety and public institutions responsible for regional and urban flood safety. The dominance of a single public governance arrangement in the Netherlands seems to limit the scope, interaction and learning of other actors, in particular with respect to the reduction of flood impacts (indicator 1.2 local sense of urgency, 1.3 behavioural internalisation, and 3.3 cross-stakeholder learning, [54
Traditionally flood risk management in the UK was focused on drainage of mainly agricultural land, organised through IDBs in the lowlands. From the 1970s onwards, priorities shifted from agriculture towards urban flood protection and ecological non-structural measures within a river basin approach [27
]. The central government incrementally changed from almost completely decentralised towards more centralised decision-making and funding. However, a process of political devolution can be observed throughout the last decade. In particular, the Cameron administration’s ‘National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy’ [40
] ushers for a shift in responsibility towards the LLFA while the central government continues to coordinate policy.
The government has no statutory duty of care to protect land or property from flooding, but has only permissive powers. Private insurance companies provide cover against floods for residential properties and the majority of commercial buildings since the 1950s. Due to technological progress that increases knowledge about flood risk exposure, the pricing system has become much more accurate in revealing previously unknown cross-subsidy [55
]. The risk-based approach led to a great variety in premiums including some ‘uninsurable’ properties where governmental rehousing programmes or higher safety standards are necessary. This national imposed institutional setting may jeopardise stakeholders’ core values, such as their house prices, insurance, and liveability (indicator 4.2 protection of core values). Finally, the responsibilities for emergency planning, spatial planning, and emergency response may be allocated to different local risk management authorities. The flood response strategy therefore tends to be fragmentally organised, whereas proactive flood mitigation is impeded due to a lack of a resourceful authorities that can address SuDS measures at the river basin scale (indicator 9.3 preparedness). In fact, flood risk management largely depends on SuDS measures, particularly in upstream areas which are managed by a variety of local organisation. At the city scale, SuDS also involve the LLFA and water companies that are responsible for sewer drainage system. Therefore, the division of responsibilities, roles, and tasks is rather dispersed and each actor is only accountable for their own often narrowly defined tasks (indicator 7.2 clear division of responsibilities), leading to suboptimal use of policy instruments (indicator 9.1 policy instruments).
The differences in national imposed institutional setting between the UK and the Netherlands also emphasizes different governance conditions. In the Netherlands, city’s need to pay extra attention with respect to condition 1 awareness and condition 3 continuous learning, particularly with respect to learning together with stakeholders outside the water sector. In the UK, condition 4 stakeholder engagement process is of particular important because many decisions that impact them are made locally. In addition, the city’s multi-level network potential requires priority (condition 7), given the rather fragmented division of tasks and roles.
Level of authority to secure long-term financial support
The liberal governance style in the UK regards the task of the government as ensuring the most cost-effective outcome for taxpayers’ money [56
]. Accordingly, the allocation of funding to LLFAs is done on a case-by-case cost-benefit evaluation based on nine Outcome Measures [57
]. Since the general election in 2010, a process of political devolution also introduced significant cuts in national funding in response to the state budget deficits. In order to fill this funding gap, local projects that do not or only partially qualify for central funding require a significant financial contribution from local communities, industries, or governmental agencies; a process that is referred to as ‘partnership funding’ [40
]. Different studies have indicated that these local investments are often initiated after recent flood events through active engagement of Flood Action Groups (FAGs) (e.g., [25
]). In these cases, awareness, knowledge, and learning (conditions 1, 2 and 3) have to be well-established in order to successfully apply for funding. In particular, cross-stakeholder learning (indicator 3.3) is key in these cases. However, in most cases, such a financial structure tends to be erratic and may inhibit investments in more holistic and proactive measures [58
In our four case-study cities, we recognised a well-known pattern that shows that often the non-transient well-educated citizens tend to organise themselves and gain a significant influence on local decision-making through various forms of co-management and knowledge co-production (e.g., [59
]). Therefore, the partnership funding system tends to work appropriately in well-educated middle class communities but not so well in more deprived areas [25
]. Hence, flood protection levels are diverging in the UK and the local agents of change (condition 6), the stakeholder engagement process (condition 4) and overall capacity-building have become critical for ensuring adequate flood safety standards throughout the country. This is particularly challenging in cities with more deprived communities that lack significant recent floods-experiences (e.g., [25
]), such as the city of Leicester.
In the Netherlands, differences in flood safety between cities is rather limited. The Delta Programme ensures long-term funding of flood defence through the Delta Fund. In period 2017–2031, about €17 billion is reserved, for which 66% is to ensure water safety measures. Every year, the funding programme is extended with one year [30
]. Regional flood risk is managed by the water boards. Water boards have elected representatives and have the authority to raise tax for regional flood risk management. Likewise, the municipality raises public taxes to finance the sewer system. In this way, long-term financial security is largely ensured, irrespective of political turns, and to some extent, financial crises. Hence, the level of authority to ensure financial support is largely related to condition 6 agents of change. In the Netherlands, visionary agents have secured long-term financial support. In the UK, local entrepreneurial and collaborative agents are essential to gain access to resources, seek and seize opportunities, and to have a significant impact on local decision-making.