FAIR Policy Brief on Asset Management for Flood Protection

16 April 2019 - Published by Eric Boessenkool
In much of the world there has been significant investment in assets providing protection against flooding. Collectively the EU Member States are investing on average some €3bn per annum on flood protection infrastructure (OECD, 2018)[1]. Yet annual average flood damages continue to increase due to both changes in the environmental drivers and also in the way people choose to live, including the inventories of those impacted, and as relative wealth continues to increase.

The Interreg North Sea Region project FAIR aims to reduce flood risk across the North Sea Region by demonstrating improved approaches for asset management of flood protection infrastructure. This project gathers several major asset owners and operating authorities in the region. These collaborate with a scientific team that brings in expertise on asset management and innovative approaches.


Significant new ideas and methods are being developed to ensure best value asset management options are identified for both existing and new infrastructure. However, their alignment with socio-economic policies and supporting governance systems is often neglected. FAIR recognises these challenges and identifies four priority policy recommendations to progress flood protection asset management:

1.    Break-free of the silo: Align multiple planning processes within, and beyond, flood management;

2.    Mind the gap: Link strategic planning and operational processes through a tactical handshake;

3.    Prepare for change: Develop flexible strategies and asset designs that can be adapted to meet changing requirements in future;

4.    Make space for innovation: Embrace and manage risk to support the development of innovative solutions.

The FAIR Policy Brief presents the drivers behind the asset management challenges facing the NSR and elaborates the four policy recommendations supported by good practice illustrative examples from across the FAIR partnership. On 25 March 2019, Mr. Bart Vonk, FAIR project manager, offered the Policy Brief to the chair of the FAIR Policy Learning Group, Ms. Willy Dekker.  



Link to FAIR Policy Brief.

Link to photos from Hamburg.


[1] Acteon (2018) Investment Needs and Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Flood Protection - Final Report Version 1. Report for OECD, Paris.