Climate Change: Engaging communities at risk of flooding – Defra


The Project

Community participation in adapting to climate change is a key feature of Defra’s Coastal Change Policy.  Defra identified a knowledge gap relating to climate change impacts amongst coastal communities, a potential barrier to their understanding of risks and necessary adaptation to future changes.  In particular, Defra needed to understand how new climate change projections for the UK (UKCP09) could be used to help meet the challenge of engaging communities in areas where coastal change posed a long-term rather than immediate threat.


Research Methods

A large scale qualitative research project examined how to better understand & engage people living in areas of high risk but with no recent direct experience of the effects of sea level rise, flooding & erosion.  Enventure devised and delivered 12 focus groups at locations classed as long-term risk due to climate change around England, with a representative mix of citizens and third sector groups.



The focus group discussions gave valuable insight into:


  • Current levels of knowledge & attitudes towards climate change and the UKCP09 projections
  • The most trusted climate change ‘messengers’
  • Personal attitudes and behaviour related to climate change, mitigation and adaptation
  • Responses to different types of climate change messages in terms of language, imagery & delivery
  • Key barriers to communication and engagement


Benefits to Client


  • Access & insight into opinions & attitudes of hard to reach groups
  • Strategic guidance & support for ‘Pathfinder Authorities’, communication & delivery of second generation Shoreline Management Plans, CAPE approach & UKCP09 projections
  • Identification of effective methods to engage communities in adapting communities in adapting to increased risks from coastal flooding and erosion


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