Delivering more inclusive public participation in coastal flood management: a case study in Suffolk, UK

Jacqueline Smith, Alan Bond

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Ongoing problems achieving local population acceptance of coastal flood strategies threaten their implementation. A lack of meaningful engagement by all elements of potentially affected populations is seen as instrumental in this problem. This research assumes that multiple discourses exist on involvement with flood management, but that most are not engaged in decision-making. The aim is therefore to identify, and develop an approach for engaging with, all discourses related to flood management decision-making. Q methodology and follow-up interviews were used to identify both discourses and issues with current engagement strategies related to involvement in flood management in a case study population, controlled to allow for potential bias subject to the validity of the information deficit model, based in the Alde and Ore Estuary, Suffolk, UK. The five discourses included people who are knowledgeable; politically aware; sceptical and pragmatic; sceptical and locally attuned; and engaged or disengaged; in their perspectives on flood management. A workshop was subsequently held to identify engagement strategies that could engage with all discourses. Involvement of participants representing the range of existing discourses is argued to be necessary to lead to effective recommendations for more inclusive engagement approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147–155
Number of pages9
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Early online date16 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • coastal and estuarine flooding
  • hold the line
  • public participation
  • Q methodology
  • discourse analysis

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