Geographical and environmental research at Middlesex University is rooted in three long-established research centres within the Natural Sciences Department. These are the Flood Hazard Research Centre (FHRC) founded in 1970, the Urban Pollution Research Centre (UPRC - 1978), and the Decision Analysis and Risk Management research unit (DARM -1998).
The particular contribution presented here lies in combining theoretical, methodological, practice and policy-related research across a range of contexts - flood risk, water management, diffuse urban pollution, sustainable urban drainage, urban ecosystem services, urban design, and public health and safety risk research.
A total of 20 members of staff are involved and our submission demonstrates how we have developed our existing strengths based within these centres since 2008.
The Unit of Assessment case studies are:
For over 40 years, the Urban Pollution Research Centre at Middlesex University has undertaken pioneering work in understanding the sources, behaviour and fate of urban diffuse pollution and its mitigation using sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS). Relevant impacts claimed here include the adoption of SUDS into UK practice and legislation, the role of SUDS as key components in achieving EU Water Framework Directive requirements and the embedding of our research within national best practice guidelines.
In response to recent policy drivers, we are collaborating with Arup to commercialise a SUDS selection and location tool (SUDSLOC) and are informing policy developments in the fields of diffuse pollution mitigation and urban ecosystem services.
Throughout the REF period (2008-2014), research by the Flood Hazard Research Centre at Middlesex University – driven by risk-assessment theory – has provided a continuously updated set of unique models, data and techniques for assessing the benefits of UK flood alleviation investment. These have been used to justify all flood alleviation investment for the whole of the UK for the whole of the REF period (c. £3bn), as well as for the previous 30 years.
Our work has been central to all assessments by Defra and the Environment Agency of national flood risk and all the Catchment Flood Management Plans for England and Wales. The research is also used in Scotland by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, by national insurers, and in many other countries.