Delivering and Evaluating Multiple Flood Risk Benefits in Blue-Green Cities
University of Nottingham

Newcastle Learning and Action Alliance (LAA)

The Blue-Green Cities team worked in partnership with stakeholders in Newcastle to develop a Blue-Green vision that includes flood risk and surface water management plus the delivery of multiple diverse ecological, socio-cultural and economic benefits.

The team learned from, and contributed to, the exciting initiatives going on in Newcastle, and opened up a discussion on flood risk management and Blue-Green infrastructure by forming a Learning and Action Alliance (LAA).

  • Watch Emily's webinar on LAAs (YouTube)

LAAs - the facts

LAAs are a cooperative, horizontal forum where people can bring their expertise, but talk freely outside of any organisational constraints in an atmosphere of mutual trust and ownership

They are dynamic groupings that can grow organically, being open to all who have an interest, but within it specific sub-groupings to focus on particular interests and problems are encouraged. 

LAAs provide a platform to facilitate open knowledge-sharing and discussions, encouraging the development of a clearer vision and enabling progress towards that end. 

This may involve participants willing to take risks and discuss options previously outside the constraints of existing formal institutional settings. 

Solutions or ideas are afterwards presented in formal inter-organisational decision-making processes.


BGC LAA logo


Photograph of Newcastle SuDS (storage pond)



LAAs have been trialled as frameworks to establish, maintain and sustain partnerships tackling flooding and wider urban water management in light of the new challenges of urban societies. They have been successfully used in the EU MARE (Managing Adaptive Responses to changing flood risk) project (MARE LAAs);

See also Ashley et al 2012, van Herk et al 2011, and Newman et al 2010

There is no fixed structure in an LAA; it is important that they are locally and technically grounded and have their own specific vision that evolves over the lifetime of the LAA. 

LAAs typically consist of a series of structured platforms at different institutional levels (city, river basin, national, international) designed to break down barriers to both horizontal and vertical information sharing and thus to speed up the process of identification, adaptation and uptake of new information

Please see our blog post for more information on LAAs

Presentations from initial start-up workshop February 14th 2014

Workshop agenda PDF file icon

Introduction to the Blue-Green Cities Research Project    Emily Lawson (University of Nottingham) PDF file icon

Mapping and managing flood risk in Newcastle with CityCAT   Chris Kilsby (Newcastle University) PDF file icon

Comparative UK/Australia study of retrofit SuDS in the CBD for improved flood mitigation   Jessica Lamond (University of the West of England, UWE) PDF file icon

Local perspectives on Blue-Green Cities    Kit England (Newcastle City Council) PDF file icon

Learning and Action Alliance for a Blue Green City of Newcastle     Jessica Lamond (UWE)  PDF file icon


Summary of workshop exercise - developing a stakeholder map PDF file icon

Stakeholder map for Newcastle PDF file icon

Benefits of a Blue-Green approach (Wordle from April 8th meeting) PDF file icon 


Reports, websites and projects in Newcastle (chronological order)

Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council and Environment Agency

Revised master plan and supplementary planning document for Newcastle Great Park PDF file icon

Newcastle City Centre Area Action Plan 2006 PDF file icon

Tyne Catchment Flood Management Plan 2009 PDF file icon

Green Infrastructure Study - Evidence Base Jan  2011  GI study 2011.pdf PDF file icon

Newcastle City Council Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA Aug 2011) PDF file icon

NewcastleGateshead Surface Water Management Plan Identifying Areas At Risk Final Report Dec 2011 PDF file icon

NewcastleGateshead Surface Water Management Plan Final Report Jan 2012 (SWMP 2012PDF file icon

Newcastle City Deal July 2012 PDF file icon

Catchment Flood Management Plan - Annual Report 2012 (EA) PDF file icon

Summer Flooding 2012 in Newcastle Upon Tyne - Report PDF file icon

NewcastleGateshead Surface Water Management Plan, Engagement Plan Feb 2011 PDF file icon

Green Infrastructure Delivery Plan Gateshead Council Jan 2013 (Green GatesheadPDF file icon

Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan for Gateshead and Newcastle Upon Tyne (2010-2030) Submission Document Dec 2013 PDF file icon

Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan Evidence Library Compendium PDF file icon

Newcastle Biodiversity Action Plan 2012 PDF file icon

Newcastle Local Development Scheme 2013-17 (LDS)


Northumbrian Water

Sustainable sewerage on Tyneside PDF file icon

Brunton Park scheme - realignment of the Ouseburn 2014-15

SuDS schemes in schools (Woodhouse Community Primary School, December 2014)


Green Infrastructure (GI)

A wealth of information is collated in the Green Infrastructure Signposting document produced by Natural England PDF file icon. This includes;

  • GI guidance
  • Economic value of GI and ecosystem services
  • Funding
  • GI and the water environment
  • Sustainable transport and GI
  • Community engagement 
  • Case studies, videos and examples of strategies
GI Case Story: St. Lawrence Park, Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne (Natural England, 2011) PDF file icon

The Ouseburn catchment

Tyne Catchment Flood Management Plan; Policies and measures for managing flood risk Ouseburn policy unit Feb 2012 PDF file icon

Potential for water storage upstream of Ouseburn Catchment, feasibility study (Newcastle University) PDF file icon

Making Space for Water - Upper Ouseburn catchment Report on Hydrometry March 2008 PDF file icon

Ouseburn Catchment Steering Group Public Engagement Report PDF file icon

Ouseburn Catchment Action Plan April 2009 PDF file icon

Water Quality Survey of the Ouseburn, Newcastle University 2012 PDF file icon

Ouseburn and North Gosforth Integrated Urban Drainage Study – Executive Summary PDF file icon

SuDS in the Ouseburn catchment on Susdrain PDF file icon

Web-links for the Ouseburn, Newcastle University



Newcastle Green Infrastructure (Newcastle City Council)

Newcastle Science Central (part of the Science City initiative)

NewcastleGateshead Initiative 

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NE LEP)

Newcastle Planning Policy Guidance (Newcastle City Council)

Planning a Future for Newcastle (Newcastle City Council)


Community initiatives, Local Government Association and industry projects

Dealing with the deluge - how councils supported their communities during the 2012 floods PDF file icon

Greening Wingrove  - creating a sustainable inner city garden suburb PDF file icon

Nuns Moor Sustainability Study - surface water management


Blue-Green Cities Research Project

Sir Clive Granger Building,
University of Nottingham,
University Park,
Nottingham, NG7 2RD.

Tel. 0115 8468137