This innovative project will protect The Fens from the impacts of climate change, like flooding and drought, and show how collaboration can change the way we think about managing water in our communities.
The Fens, also known as the Fenlands, were drained centuries ago, resulting in a flat, dry, low-lying agricultural part of the region. Half of the UK’s most fertile agricultural land is in the Fens, providing a fifth of the nation’s crops and a third of its vegetables.
Complex engineering over centuries has made this land viable as a place to live, work and grow crops, but the Fens is on the front line of extreme weather patterns and lies within a few metres of sea level. If lost to flooding by the sea, this land cannot be reclaimed, and th UK would become very reliant on imported foods.
The Future Fens project is our solution for developing national resilience in the face of a changing climate across a complex low-lying landscape. Together, Fen communities, water organisations, businesses and partners from local and national government are joining forces in a ground-breaking partnership that takes a multi-sector approach to water supply and flood management, to create environmental and social prosperity in the region.
What we're doing Building resilience to drought – Creating two new reservoirs on a similar scale to Grafham and Rutland Water which will be able to help source the region’s water supply. Building resilience to flooding – new flood risk strategy and line of defence that will absorb flood water and help to prevent devastating flood events. Benefits for the region It will unlock economic growth, new housing projects and improved transport links, as well as benefiting nature and tourism. The Future Fens programme enables the community to take control, adapting and becoming climate resilient. Benefits for the UK It will encourage more productive agriculture, long term food security, increased biodiversity, climate resilient infrastructure and will be a pioneering programme that can be rolled out globally. Through this innovative partnership programme, we hope to inspire other low-lying landscapes around the globe to adapt, to prosper and thrive.