Innovative flood resilience project introduces talking lampposts to Yorkshire

Ousewem, an innovative flood resilience project, is transforming community engagement efforts by enlisting the help of talking lampposts to raise awareness about natural flood management (NFM) in North Yorkshire.

Led by City of York Council, in collaboration with North Yorkshire Council, Ousewem aims to identify and deliver nature-based solutions (NbS), including NFM, to reduce flood risk in vulnerable North Yorkshire communities across Yorkshire’s Swale, Ure, Nidd, and Ouse (SUNO) river catchments.

“We’re excited to introduce cutting-edge interactive technology to increase understanding of how water is impacting our local area and community,” said Victoria Murray, Innovative Flood Resilience Project Manager, City of York Council.

As part of Ousewem’s community engagement strategy, initiatives will focus on public areas such as car parks and local pubs, distributing beer mats and signage to inform and engage farmers and residents about potential NFM projects while gathering community feedback.

The first phase of the project will see signs appearing in and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park, specifically around Hawes, Gayle and Hardraw, marking the beginning of an innovative approach to community engagement in flood resilience.

Hello Lamp Post CEO, Tiernan Mines, added, “We are thrilled to embark on this new collaboration with Ousewem, led by City of York Council. Together, we look forward to addressing the critical issue of flood resilience in Yorkshire. This partnership represents a powerful commitment to community engagement and environmental stewardship, and we are excited about the positive impact we can make together.”

“These interactive conversations are designed to evolve gradually over time, offering continuous educational materials, resources, and engagement opportunities,” added Murray. “We’re encouraging everyone to keep an eye out for our talking signs when out and about!”

Funded by Defra as part of the £200 million Flood and Coastal Innovation Programmes managed by the Environment Agency, Ousewem aims to drive innovation in flood and coastal resilience and adaptation to a changing climate.