“We cannot let this happen again”: reversing UK flood policy in response to the Somerset Levels floods, 2014

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The Multiple Streams Framework offers a theoretical account of how policy proposals move from latent possibilities to becoming favored for implementation. We apply this framework in the context of the policy response to the 2013–2014 flooding of the Somerset Levels and Moors. Stakeholder interviews and analysis of news media coverage evidence the way in which a specific policy option that had fallen out of favor with the national Environment Agency – dredging – came to the fore and was eventually adopted during the period in which the conjunction of problem, policy, and political pressures came to a head. Local political activists mobilized a wider campaign with the help of social media and capitalized on national political sensitivities to successfully promote dredging. What is less clear is the longevity of the policy reversal, given funding constraints.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)351-369
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2017